Welcome to The Ossining Children’s Center Campaign: Our Children. Our Future. Our $17.8 million capital campaign will create a new modern efficient and cost effective child care and education center on State Street in Ossining, and fund an expanded tuition assistance fund.
Imagine all the children whose learning will be enhanced in a facility specifically designed for education and child care. Think about the additional working families who will have access to affordable, high-quality, educational child care. And picture the transformational role our new building will play in the neighborhood!
The new facility will house all of OCC’s programs under one roof (we are currently scattered throughout three different sites) and expand our capacity to 220 children (our current enrollment is 160). Children will enjoy beautiful, resource-filled classrooms; engaging outdoor play areas; and — of course — a vegetable garden. Our expanded tuition assistance program will enable more children — regardless of their families’ earning capacity — to experience all that OCC has to offer.
We are poised to make exciting and life-changing improvements for our children and our community, but it will take the entire community to make our vision a reality. Please join us by contributing to The Ossining Children’s Center Campaign.
The Vision for Our Children’s Future
OCC is working with KG&D Architects, a distinguished Mount Kisco, New York, firm with extensive experience designing educational facilities. The firm has proposed a practical and attractive design that takes full advantage of the property.
The design includes:
With the new building, we would be able to provide our full array of services at one site, which not only provides obvious logistical and safety advantages, but also gives our children and teachers the space they need for active play and exercise, expressive art, music and dance programs, and other creative, science and nature-based activities.
The “new OCC” will be able to:
Our Children. Our Future.
Imagine a society that focuses its best resources on its children. Their well-being. Their health. Their development. Their growth into productive adulthood.
You might think this describes affluent Westchester County. But even here, there’s no guarantee of a strong and supportive start in life.
In fact, many parents are struggling. Working hard just to get by, they cannot, for example, find or afford the kind of early child care that provides the emotional support and education their children need. And their grade school-age kids need the recreation, enrichment, and homework help that working parents often can’t provide after school.
Many working parents are forced to leave their young children in sub-standard, even unsafe, child care situations, often with unlicensed babysitters. And without after-school programs, many older children become unsupervised “latch key” kids.
A Risky Future?
As a result, too many children enter kindergarten without the experiences that nurture optimum brain development and the sense of well-being gained from quality child care. And too many grade-schoolers are being left behind without appropriate supervision and resources. Without this solid foundation, these students are at a greater risk of not meeting their potential in life – a loss for them, their families, and our entire community.
Child care experts and many studies that track low-income children through adulthood confirm that attending a good preschool increased career achievement and reduced the need for remedial education, welfare assistance, or criminal justice system interventions.
Or A Better Solution.
Children have a much better chance for a bright future when they start with a positive preschool experience, and when they’re supported with fulfilling before- and after-school programs. Since we know what works, isn’t it up to all of us to provide opportunities for children to succeed?
OCC at the Crossroads
The Ossining Children’s Center (OCC) has created an environment where children feel safe, loved, engaged, respected and ready to take on the world.
In fact, we’re one of the few child care and education centers to receive a four-star rating from Quality Stars NY, a division of the Early Childhood Advisory Council, the official agency that provides strategic direction and advice to New York State on early childhood issues.
Our facilities are obsolete.
We occupy two well-worn 120-year old buildings and a facility we rent for additional space, all of which are in stark contrast to the high-quality nurturing and educational experiences that go on inside.
We need more space—especially for infants.
Every year we turn away dozens of families in need of infant care. Our current facility has enough space to accommodate only eight infants, nowhere near enough space to meet the need for infant care in the community.
Government funding is going away.
In recent decades, we have relied on government child care subsidies for a significant portion of our tuition assistance program. But because of the drop in government funding, each year we turn away at least 20 working families who are shut out of these subsidies, yet can’t possibly afford our full fee.
Increasing the number of paying families.
A new facility that matches the high quality of our programs will attract more families who have the ability to pay for the services we offer, which, in turn, enables us to serve more families in need.
If we don’t change, OCC is not sustainable.
According to five-year financial projections conducted by Tarn Consulting (a strategic financial analysis firm focused on nonprofits), given our current enrollment capacity and funding mix, our survival beyond five to seven years is unlikely. A move to a bigger and better facility would provide economies of scale, flexibility to adjust programs based on community needs, and the ability to add new programs.
After much research and a review of local real estate, our board and staff leaders located a 2.5-acre site centrally located in downtown Ossining, at 32 State Street. Long-time generous benefactors Rebecca and Arthur Samberg gifted the property to us and pledged to help fund construction of a new, state-of-the-art center.
The proposed building would house all of our current programs and still meet the growing need for infant, toddler, preschool and after-school care in Ossining. And with a larger, fully equipped and centrally located building, we can attract and accommodate a broad range of families from the wider community. This will not only improve our financial outlook but also strengthen our capabilities and diversity.
Meeting the need for over a century
Since 1895, we have offered age-appropriate, proven programs that provide the emotional and educational foundations that children need to succeed in school and beyond. Meeting this need year after year, OCC has become much more than a child care/early education center.
It’s a place that develops critical character skills.
These skills are essential for a successful adult life, including attentiveness, impulse control, collaboration, curiosity, eagerness to learn, self-discipline, persistence, and the ability to ask for help.
It’s a place where parents are supported.
Supported parents are able to prioritize their roles as breadwinners and as their children’s first and most influential teachers.
It’s a place where children are safe.
This safety gives peace of mind to parents throughout their workday.
It’s a place where the playground is an essential part of a child’s development.
Playing outdoors is where children safely practice and master emerging physical skills and have fun. But it also stimulates cognitive, communication and social skills, as well as a growing sense of autonomy.
It’s a place where preschoolers from immigrant families become fully bilingual by the time they enter kindergarten.
With this capability, they have a much better chance to thrive in school.
It’s a place enriched by a diverse mix of children from the community.
Children of attorneys and teachers play and learn with the children of carpenters and grocery store clerks. Supported by study after study and our own experience, we know that children benefit when they’re exposed to classmates from different backgrounds.
The David Swope Scholarship Fund
OCC’s late and beloved benefactor, David Swope, believed that all children deserve the best possible chance for success in life, regardless of their family’s income. With the goal of giving every child the solid foundation needed for life-long achievement and well-being, he provided many child care and education scholarships over multiple years at OCC. David’s annual generosity changed lives! Because of him, many children from low- and moderate-income working families have enjoyed—and benefitted from—the same early childhood education and after-school enrichment as their middle-income peers.
David’s critical role in our current campaign to build a new child care and education center has been invaluable. His enthusiasm early on for expanding OCC’s programs for infants, toddlers, preschool and elementary school children was both inspirational and infectious, and his generous bequest toward building the new Center will make a significant difference to our community.
In recognition of David’s leadership, as well as his family’s involvement with OCC for 50 years, our new community room/gymnasium will be named for the Swope family.
To honor David’s extraordinary leadership, generosity and memory, and to continue his wonderful annual tradition, David’s friends hope to create a scholarship fund that will support our children over the next five years in his name.
David knew that child care scholarships achieve two invaluable objectives:
- Children benefit from developing the foundational skills and knowledge they need for success in school and in adult life.
- The community benefits by having more focused and effective employees. Parents with reliable child care have peace of mind while at work, knowing their children are in a safe, nurturing environment. Without tuition assistance, these parents would be forced to place their children in substandard care.