KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The vision for a metro early childhood education center is finally coming to fruition after three decades. Their goal? Teach children to impact the community for the better.
"We're making history over here on 47th and prospect," Emmanuel Family and Child Development Center Executive Director Deborah Mann said.
The end of construction is in sight as Mann walks through 2x4's framing what will be the new center.
"Sometimes it makes me cry because I think of all the years of being in the facility that we're moving out of not having enough space and classroom size," Mann said.
After 32 years, having enough room to learn and play won't be a problem in this 28,000 square foot facility. It's safer, too.
"We are putting in safety measures where they'll get buzzed in," Mann said.
Mann said this building will more than double their capacity going from 170 kids to 345. It combines their three current centers into one.
Infants - 2-year-olds will take over downstairs, while the 3 - 13 year-olds will occupy the second floor.
"Whatever you can think of we made sure we had it in there," Mann said. "Technology where kids can learn about computer science and all those things."
The center also plans to offer occupational and speech and language therapies, along with pediatric and dental services all free.
"What we want to do is not only serve our children, we want to open it up to other head start centers that have children and families that need to get a physical or need shots they can come over here and get it done for free," Mann said.
Mann said they will continue to provide mental health services with, now, two licensed therapists on staff.
"Part of our services here will be parents will have access to free therapy to free counseling for their children," Mann said.
Mann said it will be a one-stop shop where families' needs will be met, which is critical in getting this community and its members to grow in the right direction.
"We're looking forward to just being that, having those resources for our families and breaking those barriers. Really giving them the opportunities to deal with the issues and the pain so that they can be successful in school and life," Mann said.
Mann says they plan to have the new facility open by December 2019. The project has been funded by different grants, foundations and private donors. If you would like to contribute click here.