Child care is a lifeline for parents in communities everywhere, but especially so in our rural communities.
A 2018 study by the Center for American Progress found that 60% of American families live in a child care desert, which is an area with more than three children under the age of 5 for each licensed child care spot. Across North Dakota, there are 120,371 children potentially needing care, yet the licensed child care capacity statewide is only 36,529.
Bonnie Hofmann recognized a need in her community of Medina, North Dakota, and took it into her own hands to provide much-needed child care services for her neighbors. She bought an empty grocery store in town and remodeled it from the ground up with her husband to create the Country Kids Corral.
Country Kids Corral is more than just a child care facility, it fosters engaging learning opportunities and builds connections among the children and their community members. With activities including music, writing and reading, arts and crafts, Bonnie creates hands-on activities and experiences to build hand-eye coordination, social-emotional concepts, and cognitive growth. Bonnie brings learning opportunities into her daycare too through educational visits from local police officers and farmers. She has brought her kids to the post office to learn more about mail and even to Choice Bank, where they learned about financial responsibility.
Val Leier, Business Loan Servicing Specialist at Choice Bank, saw all the effort Bonnie was putting toward bettering the Medina community through enriching the children and wanted to give back in some way. So she submitted a wish to our Wishing Well.
“I just felt they put a lot of work into getting this building renovated, and the daycare was a much-needed service in Medina. She was giving to the community, and I thought I’d like to give her something.”
“I just felt they put a lot of work into getting this building renovated, and the daycare was a much-needed service in Medina,” Val said. “She was giving to the community, and I thought I’d like to give her something.”
Val worked with Bonnie’s husband, Jacob, to figure out what would be the best gift for both Bonnie and the children she serves at the daycare. They landed on the idea of a swing set for the daycare’s outdoor space. After doing some research, they found the perfect playset for the daycare’s age range of children.
Then it came time for the big reveal. Val, Gerald Horner, Location President, and Karen Schlecht, former Senior Client Services Specialist, drove over to the daycare one afternoon to surprise Bonnie with the brand-new playset in the cargo bed of his pickup.
“The kids are excited and can’t wait for Jacob to get some time to build it! We spent the week making thank you cards,” Bonnie said.
Bonnie has since added on to the playset, creating the opportunity for children to continue to learn through play. We are so grateful for the special people in each of our communities working to create a better place for their neighbors.
Bonnie is creating valuable experiences where children can learn more about their world through interaction and play that will continue to positively affect Medina for generations to come.
Access to child care is essential to the ongoing economic stability of our small communities. To address this need and supply child care providers with the resources they need to thrive, we have launched the Choice Bank Child Care Grant Program. This grant program will provide financial assistance to rural child care facilities in North Dakota. Learn more about the grant and how to apply here.
The Choice Bank Wishing Well is now accepting wishes for 2021! Ready to cast yours? Visit choicewishingwell.com and let us know who you would like to help out in your community.Make A Wish