In any normal year, Kid Central operates as a before- and after-school program for children of working parents. Of course, 2020 was no normal year. When Virginia school buildings closed in March, parents needed somewhere to take their children.
In partnership with Culpeper County Public Schools, Kid Central initiated the Critical Infrastructure Program at Farmington Elementary School. They offered a daycare service from 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. for parents in essential professions including health care employees, first responders and law enforcement officers. Throughout the pandemic, Kid Central also distributed countless meals.
While Kid Central stepped up when the community needed it most, the company has offered reliable services for three decades – which is why it received the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce’s Large Business of the Year Award.
In fact, it has been exactly 30 years since Kid Central began operating. Rachel Palmer, Kid Central’s program coordinator, explained big anniversary celebration plans were scrapped amid the pandemic and “to actually win this award on our 30th anniversary in the midst of all this craziness is such an honor.”
“This year has been a very different year and we’re really honored that we were able to rise to the occasion and serve our community through all of these changes when school was closed,” she said.
Marshall Conner, Kid Central’s marketing and sports coordinator, agreed that 2020 was a “completely challenging year,” which made employees all the more honored to receive the award.
“That made us a little bit more proud of it, to actually have contributed that much in the community and to stay afloat during all of that,” he said.
Conner noted that no students or staff got sick during the all-day program.
“In my book that’s pretty miraculous,” he said.
Palmer explained that Kid Central operates in every local middle and elementary school while its pre-school program is housed at the Head Start facility. Along with a summer camp program, Kid Central is a year-round program and Palmer said “we literally serve children from zero to 13.”
Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jeff Say noted that Kid Central is integral in helping out with before and after school programs.
“Kid Central has been an integral part of education in Culpeper County for the last 30 years and they quickly came to the aid of parents and educators at the outset of the pandemic,” Say said. “They transformed into a key critical infrastructure childcare provider and a center for distributing food, and still hosted a summer day camp – with a reduced number of children. They proved that childcare and school attendance can be done safely. Kid Central is a key partner in the community and they showed resilience and innovation in a trying time.”