May 02, 2018

Poplar Grove nonprofit has long tradition of helping families become successful

Neighborhood House staff hope to begin truly breaking ground soon on a new building that will replace the two aging daycare facilities at 1050 West 500 South.|Dioceline Maldonado, lead teacher of her 3 and 4-year-old daycare class at Neighborhood House, feels that she is “adding a grain of change when it comes to the value of education within the family environment of these kids.”|||| Neighborhood House staff hope to begin truly breaking ground soon on a new building that will replace the two aging daycare facilities at 1050 West 500 South.|Dioceline Maldonado, lead teacher of her 3 and 4-year-old daycare class at Neighborhood House, feels that she is “adding a grain of change when it comes to the value of education within the family environment of these kids.”|||| |||||

By Atticus Agustin
Photos by Ivan Carrasco

Emma J. McVicker was a Presbyterian teacher who lived in Salt Lake City in the late 1800s. She was troubled by the disparity of resources between families living on the west and east sides of the city. She decided to alleviate the problem by starting an inexpensive child care center that would serve the working immigrant community on the west side of the city.

McVicker founded the “Free Kindergarten Association” in 1894, two years before Utah gained statehood. It was later renamed Neighborhood House. In 1978, the first-ever adult day care program in Utah was added.

Today, just as then, 90 percent of Neighborhood House’s clients live below the median income level. The average client is a single mother with 3 children and an annual income of about $26,000.

Neighborhood House’s mission is to provide quality, affordable day care and support services for children and adults. It operates on a sliding fee scale, where fees vary based on clients’ ability to pay.

Neighborhood House has been involved in a large capital campaign to raise money for construction of a new facility on their current site in Poplar Grove at 1050 West 500 South. This $15 million, 57,000-square-foot project is expected to be completed in 2020. The new facility could serve 100 more families, an increase from the current 236 children to 325, and 40 adults to 60.

Recently, Rep. Sandra Hollins of House District 23 secured an appropriation of $800,000 from the state legislature for the expansion of the facility. The total amount raised so far is $13.5 million, and the organization is gratefully accepting donations to raise the last $1.5 million.

The new building will offer a cyber center, classes, and activities provided through partnerships, which will be open to the public. “This expansion is to let the community know that people can come in and that you don’t need to be a client to utilize all of our services,” says Executive Director Jennifer Nuttall.

The facility has always been and will continue to be responsive to the needs of families. “We are always committed to the west side – and we have been for 124 years.” Nuttall said. Children can count on a complete preschool and academic curriculum that teaches them how to play well with others.

There are strong intergenerational connections between youths and the adults. Some youths refer to other adults as “grandpa” or “grandma” even if they are not related. These connections will only grow stronger once the adult and youth centers are housed under the same roof in the future.