May 18, 2021
MUSKEGON, MI — The Muskegon YMCA announced it will open a new early childhood learning center in Muskegon in June. Servicing children aged six weeks to five years, the center will be open 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with before and after school care available for school-aged children (K-6thgrade). The center will occupy a newly renovated wing of the Muskegon Covenant Academy building at 125 Catherine Avenue in the McLaughlin neighborhood, and will have its own separate entrance at the corner of Ransom Street and McLaughlin Avenue.
“We are excited about helping to meet the community’s need — the need of local families — with affordable quality child care,” Muskegon YMCA CEO and Executive Director Bruce Spoelman said. “Our center is equipped to serve 72 children.”
The project came together through a remarkable convergence of efforts. Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, whose mission is changing lives through the power of work, is focused on removing barriers to employment. “Lack of affordable, reliable child care is one of the most significant barriers to employment,” Goodwill Industries of West Michigan President and CEO Jeanette Hoyer. “Goodwill and our board of directors has made this issue a priority and has been committed to increasing the availability of affordable, high-quality child care.”
Goodwill had already begun conversations with the YMCA about partnering to open a new child care center when the Muskegon Health Project initiated the Livability Lab and the 100-day challenge, out of which the Muskegon Child Care Action Team was assembled. Together and through these strong community partnerships, the YMCA was confirmed as the organization to take the lead role in opening a child care center.
“The YMCA has a national history and expertise in the child care arena,” said YMCA Child Care Director Gabrielle Gerlach. “And when the ideal available space for housing a child care center was identified, the team came together to work on making it happen.”
“The United Way of the Lakeshore, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, and a variety of private donors raised the seed money to renovate the space and secure a lease with the Muskegon Covenant Academy,” said Spoelman.
“Collectively, we can help solve the issue of child care in our community,” Hoyer said.
The 5,500 square-foot facility has four separate classrooms with lots of windows and natural light, as well as a fenced outdoor play space. The new center will provide up to nine new jobs.
The center is currently accepting enrollment applications online through their website at www.muskegonymca.org/learning-center.
The Muskegon YMCA has been a presence in West Michigan since 1916, promoting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility through programs and activities. In 2015, the Muskegon YMCA sold their fitness facility on Western Avenue and became what is known as a “non-facility YMCA” continuing to address and serve the community health and wellness needs.
For more information, please visit: www.muskegonymca.org or call (231) 722-9622.