Built by Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc, the new building is just under 10,000 square feet. It has a spacious reception area, six classrooms for pre-school and a full kitchen. The outside is adorned with a playground for the kids. In keeping with the children’s theme, the front of the building has two columns shaped and painted to look like giant crayons. “We have been operating from temporary facilities in North Port,” said Philip Tavill, Executive Director of Children First. “We are extremely pleased to have a building to call our own.

” Willis Smith Construction also built a new entrance called the Children Way.

This project, which began Sept 2006, was completed this year in June, and the facility started operations in August.

Children First’s goal is to “provide children with what all children deserve” – a safe place to learn, nutritious meals, and a nurturing environment with individualized attention. It is also about strengthening children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health and well-being.

With a strong emphasis on training and education, the staff is well equipped to provide the services that have earned them the “Program of Excellence” designation from the National Head Start Association. Nurturing Dads, Just for Moms, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Partners for Life are just some of the programs conducted at the new building. With their new facility, they will be able to continue and further their goals to help alleviate some of the strains that poverty imposes on children and their families here and the surrounding areas.

Children First had their ribbon cutting in September at their new facility. Present was Tavill to officiate the ceremony a well as Richard G. Gilmore Jr., President of the Children First Board as well as the rest of the board members. Members of the North Port community as well as parents were also there for the event.

Share this article