Bright Beginnings Daycare and Learning Center, Bernville, held a bowl-a-thon fundrasier at Berks Lanes Bowling Center this past Saturday. Randolph (Randy) Simmons and fiancee Elizabeth (Liz) Pittman hope to open the daycare this summer after the original opening of January 13 had to be delayed.
“We live in Bernville where there is no daycare. Everyone has to go out of town for daycare,” said Pittman.
Simmons explains the daycare as a leap of faith that started as a dream and later had to become reality after an injury at work, in May, left him unable to continuing working at the same company. The couple, who recently had a son, realized the need for a daycare and thought that now would be a good time.
After driving by an available building, the couple researched what was needed to start the process of opening a childcare center and posted an ad on Craigslist to see if there was interest in the area. There were 79 people who contacted Simmons through the ad. Part of the reason is due to the lack of a local daycare in Bernville.
Simmons has worked to get the building approved for the daycare through zoning, obtaining building permits, hiring contractors, and obtaining all state licenses as well as completing child care orientation training through the state and has passed all background checks. He also wrote letters to representatives and the President.
The couple is dedicated to getting the center open and has continued to push forward even after losing a significant amount financially by being taken advantage of early on. Local businesses and residents have stepped up to help with donations. Lowes and the Bank of America have created accounts for people to donate to in order to help with supplies for construction and other necesities for the center. Berks Lanes also reached out to provide a space for the fundraiser and offer to bus children from the daycare to the bowling center.
“The support has been amazing. We would not be able to do this without the community,” said Simmons. “The businesses understand what we’re up against.”
One of the biggest supporters has been Pastor Wayne Rissmiller of Calvary Bible Fellowship Church who Simmons said is like a dad to him. Simmons credits Pastor Rissmiller with mentoring, supporting, and guiding him. It was through the pastor that Simmons was coached on public speaking which he does at teen and church events.
“It made me realize I’m supposed to have a daycare and be speaking to children,” said Simmons.
Already the daycare has 37 contracts for enrollment once the center is open and is part of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Currently, the daycare is seeking donations for school supplies, construction supplies, toys, and computers.
Once open, the center will be directed by Simmons’ sister, Joella Simmons, who has a Masters Degree in Childhood Education. All staff will be qualified and trained providers as well. The center will be open to children from 6 weeks old and up, with before and after school programs. Simmons and Pittman’s goal is to offer Tulpehocken School area quality childcare close to home and within the school district.
For more information on the center or to donate go to www.brightbeginningsberks.com.