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Square One Announces ‘Next Level’ Initiative to Expand Childcare to All Hours

SPRINGFIELD — In keeping with its mission to meet the early-learning and family-support needs of the Greater Springfield community, Square One announced it is expanding access to child care to all hours of the day. The announcement of Square One: Next Level comes as the need for child care for second shift, third shift, and weekends continues to grow for working parents throughout the region. 

Strategic funding partners include MGM Springfield, Baystate Health, Smith & Wesson, the Center for Human Development (CHD), FOCUS, and LENOX. Funds from these employers were matched by philanthropist Lyman Wood of Hampden. Collectively, more than $100,000 was raised to launch Square One: Next Level. 

“Square One has a long-standing reputation for strategically responding to the evolving needs of our community,” said Joan Kagan, Square One president and CEO. “We heard from our business leaders and from parents in our community that the lack of child care during evenings and weekends was making it difficult for employees to be successful in their careers and employers to be successful in running their businesses. We are excited and grateful for the support of these businesses and for Lyman’s belief in our mission and vision. Working together, we are building a stronger, more vibrant community for the families who live and work here.”

In addition to providing opportunities for parents to secure high-quality care for their children while meeting the diverse work scheduling needs of employers and employees throughout the region, this initiative is also providing employment opportunities for professionals in the child-care industry. Square One is currently recruiting and training family child-care providers to offer care during non-traditional work hours.

“As many may recall, Square One experienced two major losses in the 2011 tornado and the gas explosion that occurred in 2012,” Wood said. “Although these disasters set them back financially and limited the organization’s ability to perform many of the services needed in Springfield, it did not stop them from creatively and responsibly developing long-term solutions to the region’s growing challenges. This child-care endeavor is a win-win opportunity to assist employers with their staffing needs and generate resources to fulfill their mission.”

Square One: Next Level is now available to the community at large. For more information on how to become a provider or supporter, or to access child-care services, visit www.startatsquareone.org.

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