For the past 13 years Lorraine Trulsen has worked tirelessly to keep the doors open at the Heritage Park Child Care Centre.
As Mission’s only non-profit daycare centre, the challenge is daunting. The introduction of full-day kindergarten more than two years ago meant enrolment numbers have dropped. The centre has introduced before and after-school programs and Trulsen insists it still plays a vital role in the community.
“At the end of the day, we’re more than just a 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daycare service,” notes Trulsen. “This is a community program, owned and operated by the parents that come here and trust us with rheir children.”
So with all the concern of keeping the Heritage Park Childcare Centre viable, the director is growing increasingly frustrated with the constant vandalism that has plagued the facility.
Located on the corner of Prentis Avenue, just across the road from Heritage Park Secondary, the small daycare centre has been the target repeatedly, said Trulsen.
“It’s really frustrating to see that a place that takes care of children gets violated so often,” she says.
Most recently, the gate at the front of the driveway was tampered and a sign was torn down. The growing list of incidents include broken windows, stolen toys, building tagged with spray paint, and even a stolen garage shed. But more troublesome is the cost to repair, said Trulsen.
“The cost is constant,” she lamented.
Trulsen said it isn’t fair to the families that use the centre to have to see money coming out of the centre’s pocket to pay for needless repairs instead of being invested in programs.
But the continuous costs associated with vandalism is a financial drain.
The centre plays an important role in the community, helping families who may not otherwise have a viable daycare option, she said, adding the emphasis at the Heritage Park Childcare Centre is to asset the whole family, not just the children who come through the door.
Trulsen hopes those in the surrounding neighbourhood and the rest of the community will take a more active role to help stop the vandalism, whether it’s just keeping a watchful eye on the building, or becoming a volunteer and helping with fundraising, the centre can only thrive if the community takes pride in ownership.