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LC - Outreach


MARCH 17, 2023



News from the Outreach–Engagement & Interpretation

Subcommittee of the PNNE Leadership Commission

Bright Start Ch
ildcare Center at Mid-Coast Presbyterian Church in Topsham, Maine, is a very grateful recipient of one of the checks from the end-of-the-year distribution of Mission Giving & Campus Ministry Funds of 2022.  Bright Start Childcare at MCPC has been a provider of childcare services in the area since August 2000.  PNNE was crucial in seeing this ministry becoming a reality as financial resources were provided for start-up costs, through the formerly-known-as Mission Committee.


Bright Start offers a developmentally appropriate early learning environment where children come to play and learn in a safe, inclusive setting.  Offering a flexible schedule has been a benefit to many parents as some children attend as little as one day a week and others attend full time five days per week.  The church provides the facilities at no charge to enable Bright Start to offer tuition assistance to families who are income eligible.


Like many childcare providers, the center was closed due to the 2020 pandemic (along with 186 other childcare centers in Maine) and slowly reopened September 2021 with 5 children (licensed for 40).  There was a serious shortage of childcare workers after the pandemic and Bright Start was on the brink of closing in the Spring of 2021 when we resorted to posting an opening for a new director on the sermon board – Samantha Benner saw the message and walked in and has been our director for almost a year now.  Current enrollment is 32 children and laughter echoes in the hallways just like it did pre-pandemic!

On a more personal note, many years ago, when my son was in daycare, no one had the capability or willingness to encourage our seeking a diagnosis which would lead to much needed education interventions and services.  Had he attended Bright Start, we’d have known he was autistic much sooner as the staff at Bright Start is skilled at recognizing special needs and committed to helping every child receive necessary services, as well as advocate for each one as they move on to kindergarten and beyond.  Bright Start has been the last chance for several children who were dismissed from other childcare due to behavioral or learning issues.


Every child who comes to Bright Start is accepted, encouraged and loved, and each one gains skills for success in their future education.  Bright Start is and continues to be the heart of our outreach to the wider community.

From the beginning, PNNE was a great support and we are grateful for this crucial financial boost. 

~Submitted by Rev. Diane Hoppe Hugo

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