Deep Roots Grow Strong Trees
The Roots Start to Grow
TLC was incorporated as a private, non-profit agency in 1994 and in January of that year moved to a permanent site in St. George. In April of 1994, the Hildale TLC Center opened to provide services to families on the southeastern side of the county. At this time we were serving just under 100 families. An interstate agreement between the states of Utah and Arizona in February 1997 which allowed for the provision of services to Colorado City and Centennial Park, Arizona.
Showers Bring More Growth
TLC received their initial Early Head Start grant in January 2002. The program served 60 pregnant women and families with children ages birth to three. This grant grew our program budget by 66% as well as added 14 additional employees to our staff.
A Flower Blooms in the Desert
Conditions along the Arizona Utah border indicated that there was a need for a site in Arizona. We entered into a partnership with Colorado City Unified School District to co-locate our program with their special education preschool.
Roots Continue to Expand
In November TLC was awarded an Early Head Start expansion grant to serve an additional 72 Early Head Start children. Right on the heels of this award, we received funding from First Things First, an Arizona State Tobacco Tax initiative, which allowed us to serve an additional 36 families in the Arizona communities radiating out of Beaver Dam and Colorado City in Mohave County. This created the opportunity for a new partnership with the Littlefield Unified School District #9 which houses our program in their elementary school.
A New Garden
As services grew, staff was added on at a rapid pace and we were bursting at the seams at our original St. George location. In June 2011, TLC moved their St. George site to a brand new, spacious facility. This center was built through generous donations and labor from the community. Our new facility has greatly increased our capacity to continue to expand our services in the St. George area, including offering fee-for-service classes to the public at large.
More Flowers Bloom
TLC for Families was awarded a Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant from the Utah Office of Home Visiting. This grant allows us to serve 45 at-risk pregnant women in the St. George area and their children from birth to age five. 2012 was also the year that TLC began their first “fee for services” program, Kindermusik. This program allows children to enhance their developmental skills through music and movement and has become very popular in the community. In the summer of 2014, we received notification that our MIECHV grant would be expanded to 100 families starting October 1, 2014.
Winds of Change
2015 was a year of big changes for The Learning Center for Families. In July, the Hildale site was forced to close when the last eligible child in that service area aged out of the program. In August, through an Early Head Start Partnership Grant with Salt Lake Cap, a child care opens at the St. George site. Child care services are provided for eight infants and toddlers who are eligible for Early Head Start services. In September of that year, Debbie Justice, the beloved director of 22 years, retired, leaving the oversight of TLC in the very capable hands of a new director, Suzanne Leonelli.
Room to Grow
Under the direction of Suzanne, The Learning Center for Families has continued to grow. In 2017 the Caterpillar Clubhouse Child Development Center officially opened. This center combines the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Grant with a private pay option for the public. The Caterpillar Clubhouse provides developmentally appropriate care for all enrolled children, including those with special needs. In the fall of 2017, the TLC Kindermusik program closed.
Nurturing Strong Beginnings
Caterpillar Clubhouse expanded its services to 64 families in the greater St. George area and in January of 2018 a new music program, “Sound Beginnings” opened to TLC families. The Learning Center for Families celebrates 25 years promoting the success of children and reveals a new name and branding, Root for Kids.