Editor's note: This is the 16th in a series of stories highlighting the 21 agencies to receive United Way's annual campaign funds. The next article will run in Saturday's edition of The Telegram.


Special to The Telegram

A typical day in Donelda Lalicker's room at Community Day Care Center involves teaching 3- and 4-year-olds the alphabet, numbers, months and days of the week. The goal is to help prepare them for kindergarten.

Last week, Lalicker and Alberta Burchett, both lead teachers, spent time helping the children with a project. They decorated small brown paper bags and popped fresh popcorn to take home for the weekend.

"We just love working with the kids and getting them ready for life," Lalicker said.

Community Day Care is one of 21 organizations that will receive funding from the United Way of Finney County in 2012. Community Day Care requested $22,000, which it plans to use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for healthy meals and snacks.

Jessica Bird, executive director of Community Day Care, said the United Way money also will allow Community Day Care to hire a part-time person to prepare the food.

Community Day Care, 505 College Drive, serves children from 2 weeks old to school age. The day care center is licensed to hold 99 children and currently has about 70 enrolled, Bird said.

It is a nonprofit organization under the guidance of a board of directors. Children from all segments of the community are served, and admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Children have breakfast, lunch and a snack. An example of a healthy snack, Bird said, is grapes, cheese and ham.

During the day, Community Day Care provides structured activities and lessons to get the children ready for school. Children take part in creative play, work on their speech and motor skills and also develop life skills, such as potty training and putting on their own shoes.

Lalicker, a lead teacher, has worked at Community Day Care for 19 years. Her room is decorated in bright colors with days of the week and the alphabet hanging on the walls.

Lalicker said that during the day, the children usually complete a project and have play time and nap time.

Bird said Community Day Care has openings for those who are interested.

Child care for the baby rooms are $125 a week, and the cost for older children is $105 a week. Bird can be reached at 275-5757.

The United Way is in the midst of its annual fundraising campaign. The goal for the campaign is to raise $550,000.

Other agencies that will benefit from the 2012 United Way funds are: Finney County RSVP; Kansas Children's Service League; Catholic Social Service; Santa Fe Trail Council Boy Scouts; Smart Start; Playground Program; Family Crisis Services; Spirit of the Plains, CASA; The Salvation Army; Meals on Wheels; Habitat for Humanity; Garden City Family YMCA; Garden City Chapter of the Red Cross; Miles of Smiles; Russell Child Development Center; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association; United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties; and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

Community Day Care

Director: Jessica Bird

Address: 505 College Drive

Phone: 275-5757

Hours: 6:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday