CADIZ - Since late summer the Harrison Hills City School District has hosted a day care business to provide children and families with needed support.
The Praying Pups Day Care Center opened its doors this past August at the district office, which previously had served as an elementary school. Carrie Shaver, owner, said she had been planning the day care business for six years, but the selection of buildings had been discouraging in terms of the renovation expenses necessary to license them.
She said the utilities and amenities already present in the building and geared toward children were invaluable in starting the business.
T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK
CARRIE SHAVER, owner of Praying Pups Day Care Center, hosted by the Harrison Hills School District, reports on the business’ progress.
"A school makes the perfect place for a day care," she said, noting such features as the fire alarms and playground. "Thank you so much for the opportunity.
"It was an absolute miracle," said Shaver. "My husband and I had been working with a realtor for places to purchase or lease. Someone mentioned contacting the school district."
She said the administration found there was space available.
"This is what we needed," she said. "We've got our own space and the timing was impeccable. It worked out really well that it was in a school building."
The day care service currently served children ages 18 months through 12 years old.
They collaborate with the school and Head Start busses and work with six vehicles.
In addition, Praying Pups is expanding this February. They are working with Amanda's Dance Academy to provide tumbling classes for children who enroll. Other plans include programs to teach soccer fundamentals.
"We are trying to collaborate with a lot of people in the community and looked at having the tumbling classes so parents don't have to commute elsewhere," she said, adding that 35 children are currently enrolled with 12 new enrollments this year. They also assist in completing do homework.
Shaver said, hard working families can spend added time together. "They can do it at the center and have family time in the evening."
"We are trying to collaborate with a lot of people in the community and looked at having the tumbling classes so parents don't have to commute elsewhere. They can do it at the center and have family time in the evening."
She said they hope to eventually begin a summer camp focusing on fine arts.
Shaver, originally from Harrison County, said she valued the chance to give back to the community.
"I have a passion for Harrison County. I know the potential of the kids here and I want to see that potential fulfilled. I want to foster that," she said. Shaver comes from an early intervention background and brings experience working with special needs children. "I believe that a good foundational start is a key to future success."
She added that she believed in fostering childrens' abilities at a young age so they will become more successful on starting school.
Shaver operated a day care service in St. Clairsville before deciding to start her own. She has also taught in Belmont Technical College's Child Development Program. She holds a bachelor's degree in child psychology from Ohio University and has 12-years experience in special education.
She noted that she and her six staff members are trained in child development, child abuse recognition, communicable disease, first aid and CPR.
Dr. George Ash, superintendent, said the move benefits the district and the community.
"We started a business incubator to promote shared services and job growth in Harrison County," Ash said. "The rent helps pay our utilities on the building, so it's a win-win situation. The district is grateful to Ms. Shaver for her work with the children, many of which are our pupils."
Praying Pups Day Care operated weekdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (740) 942-7840
DeFrank can be reached at email@example.com