The struggle of affordable child care - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

The struggle of affordable child care

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FAIRMONT, NC (WMBF) – The city struggles with unemployment and poverty, neighbors say. But one local woman is determined to change that.

Theresa Pickett drove through Fairmont one evening with her husband. She was humbled by how poor the area is and saw a need in the community.

"As we drove through the area, we noticed how poor the area looked. I was amazed by how some of the homes were looking. Some homes were missing front doors, windows, or siding. At my amazement people were still living in these homes, but children were still playing, laughing, and enjoying life," says Theresa Pickett, a Robeson County resident.

By providing a safe and affordable place for children, Theresa Pickett hopes to improve the unemployment and poverty in the area. She believes  opening up All About Kidz-NC Child Care Center will give her neighbors the opportunity to go to work and giving children a place to learn.

It started as a dream shared between her and her mother. But, Theresa is struggling to make it a reality.

Theresa Pickett's mother passed away before she was able to open the doors of All About Kidz-NC.

"I was heartbroken. But, my promise to her, and my promise to myself, was to open this center," says Theresa Pickett.

She is determined to get this center started.

"The children here, the people, are all wonderful. But, they need help," explains Pickett.

Fairmont has a high poverty rate. According to the U.S. Census the poverty line is around $23,000 for a family of four.

"The poverty rate here in Fairmont is over 53%," explains Pickett, "that's the highest in the state."

Pickett says right now, there are only three day cares in the area that take in children for little to no cost. When she contacted DSS, they told her over 1,000 children were on the waiting lists for those day cares.

"There's a great need here, which is why I wanted to open a not-for-profit center," says Pickett.

All About Kids-NC Child Care Center would provide day care, after school activities, and programs for adults.

"It would give opportunities to parents starting jobs to have a place to bring their kids," says Monte McCallum, a neighbor in the area supporting Pickett's dreams.

"It would give them something to do. Get them off the streets," agrees Terasa Hunt, a mother who wants her children to attend the center.

The community has helped with the building, donating time, hard work and items to fill the classrooms. Pickett says it is 90% complete, but is still unable to open.

"I got stuck, I needed funding," says Pickett.

After putting the majority of her savings into her dream, Pickett is $5,000 away from opening the doors.

"We need donations for electric, plumbing, and sheet rock. We're trying to open in the next 20-25 days," she says.

She says the drive behind her desire to keep going, comes from the children in the neighborhood that want to attend the child care center.

"I want to come in here so I can play, and see my friends," says Ayanna Thompson. She adds, "I would sit and play and read here."

You can learn more about All About Kidz-NC Child Care Center on their web site: aakidznc.weebly.com

Or through email: aakidznc@gmail.com

The building is located at 1016 Martin Luther King Drive, Fairmont, NC 28340

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