Vital Connections of the Midlands is more than a daycare, it’s a place for children and families to get comprehensive, high quality early child care and education. Not only are children holistically taken care of from morning to dusk, but families are provided services to help them with employment, education and family care.
As a Community Enrichment grantee, Vital Connections addresses nutrition, health screening, mental health, education and employment/continuing education. The nationally accredited organization currently serves 115 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in 3 child development centers located in low-income neighborhoods: Children’s Garden, Arthurtown, and Tender Years.
“Vital Connections began because people came together and said ‘We need to provide nationally credited care for all children,’” Elizabeth Bower, Executive Director of Vital Connections, said.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina’s grant helps provide healthy snacks, learning tools such as books, puppets, other classroom material, technology and staff training.
In addition to providing these services each weekday, Vital Connections also sends weekend snacks home with their children, as well as partners with Publix who supplies snacks each Wednesday for all those who come through the organization.
The staff at Vital Connections is a large part of why the organization is able to do so much good for its community. The staff constantly works hands-on with the children, and uses any down time they have to complete their quarterly assessments of each and every child.
“I have always been in awe of what our staff can do,” Bowers said. “It is so important for them to know that they are appreciated.”
Vital Connections gives more than just education to children. The organization provides formula, diapers, wipes and three meals a day to their students. The staff also meets with parents and grandparents to help find school and jobs, or talk about family goals and available resources.
“We serve not only the children, but the whole family, “Bowers said. “Those are the things I take with me at the end of the day—those grateful parents and grandparents and knowing that all of us together are providing love and care for the children.”
Vital Connections is a United Way of the Midlands certified agency that just recently was the recipient of the EdVentures Children’s Museum’s “Unsung Hero” award. To date, the organization has served over 5,000 students, the majority of who entered kindergarten successfully.
*Considering how much Vital Connections provides during the day, the organization is always accepting donations from the community. The current needs are: diapers (size 2 and up), baby wipes, paper towels, multipurpose paper for printing, and healthy snacks for after school. To make a donation, visit one of their child development centers or the Vital Connections offices.*