Horizons Child Care bids farewell to summer, raises funds

Senator David Argall with Horizons Child Care and Learning Center Inc. manager Liz Simmons and Horizons Child Care and Learning Center Inc. director Nicole Williams at the End of Summer Bash. Photo by Shea Singley — Berks-Mont Newspapers
Reading High School Dance Team performs at the annual End of Summer Bash. Photo by Shea Singley — Berks-Mont Newspapers

With most of the children in the area returning to school this week, Horizons Child Care and Learning Services Co. helped let summer go with a bang on Aug. 23 at Bern Grove in Leesport. Despite the rain, the staff from the center and founding members of the nonprofit We Agape You Inc., as well as those that have helped both get to where they are, held the annual End of Summer Bash for the community.

The recently licensed Bernville child care center set up an afternoon full of entertainment and fun all for a good cause. Proceeds from the event benefited the child care scholarship fund that helps families that are not able to afford the cost of child care centers, but are not eligible to receive assistance. The scholarship is from We Agape You Inc. which is a nonprofit started by Horizons Child Care manager Elizabeth Simmons and her husband Randy Simmons.

“This is to raise awareness, and most importantly, I think, to raise funds for people in the area who kind of fall between that spot there where assistance isn’t really available, but they can’t really afford the means for what it takes to get to a day care center. So hopefully we’ll be able to provide some scholarships for folks so they’ll be able to have their kids in this wonderful new day care,” said Wayne Rissmiller, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Fellowship Church.

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Recently under director Nicole Williams, the child care center became the first and only licensed child care center located in Bernville. A need that the Simmons family discovered a few years ago when this dream started.

Senator David Argall was at the bash on Saturday to present a congratulatory citation to the center.

“The Senate of Pennsylvania congratulates Horizons Child Care and Learning Services Co. on the joyous occasion of its grand opening and extends the warmest wishes for a future replete with ever increasing success and services to the community,” said Argall.

Throughout the event, members of the community that have known those involved with creating the center shared their memories of watching this dream become a reality.

“So here we are a couple of years later and they finally have this day care center up and running,” said Rissmiller recalling his first meeting with Randy and the conversations that led to what is now Horizons.

The afternoon was not only about celebrating the success of the center and raising money for the scholarship fund, but also about saying farewell to summer with the start of school looming. Entertainment throughout the afternoon included Greg Irvin of Calvary Bible Fellowship Church and his band, Reading High School Dance Team, Teen Challenge and DJ Johnny V. Staff from the center provided crafts for the children and plenty of games offered lots to do at the family event. Sweet Frog Yogurt brought mascots Cookie and Scoop to interact with the children.

The pavilions were filled with food and drinks to complete the afternoon. According to a release from the center, the event was made possible by JTC X-change, Western Berks churches, Blue Marsh Canteen, Sweet Frog Yogurt, InstaWhip, Blue Marsh Market, Maier’s Bakery, Berks Packaging Co., Mario’s Pizza and Pepsi Pulse.

Even with the misty and at times rainy weather, it was a fun event for the whole family with plenty of smiles and laughs all while helping fellow community members. Williams and other attendees all agreed that it was the perfect way to say goodbye to summer and get ready for the school year.

“What we want to do is do things similar to this,” said Randy on We Agape You Inc. “We’re about children. We’re about the neighborhood and the community. We just want to be able to raise people up to the point where they can take off on their own.”

For more information on Horizons Child Care and Learning Services Co. visit www.horizonschildservices.com and for more on We Agape You Inc. visit www.weagapeyou.org.

About the Author

Shea Singley

Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She grew up in Berks County and spent three years at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where she double majored in Creative Writing and English before transferring to Kutztown University where she majored in Professional Writing. Shea graduated from Kutztown University in 2012 and during that time completed an internship in the publication department of a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. She joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in March of 2013 and had enjoyed getting the chance to explore the Hamburg area and meet the readers. Reach the author at ssingley@berksmontnews.com or follow Shea on Twitter: @hamburgitem.