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The Learning Lamp Seeks Community’s Help in Relocating Child Care Center

Posted on December 20, 2021

Johnstown, PA (Dec. 20, 2021) – The Learning Lamp, a nonprofit organization that provides child care for hundreds of children and families, is asking for the community’s help. It needs assistance identifying a building to house a small child care center in the Jennerstown, Boswell, or Stoystown areas of Somerset County. The organization’s current location will no longer be available beginning late spring of 2022. A seven-month search has turned up no possible options.

The Learning Lamp’s existing child care center in Jennerstown serves 34 children, ages birth to age 12. It also provides a part-day preschool program and summer camps for school-age students. The center has been serving the community for more than a decade. About half of the center’s children are infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The other children use the program for part-day before and after school care.

“Child care is a critical support for families with young children. Without access to child care, parents are often forced to leave the workforce and children go without early learning experiences that prepare them for kindergarten and beyond,” said Leah Spangler, President and CEO of The Learning Lamp. “It’s critical that we find a location to serve the children and families who have become like family to our organization.”

Children and staff from the Jennerstown child care center, seen here sorting non-perishable food donations for the holidays for families in need, holds a Keystone STAR 2 in Pennsylvania’s quality rating system, with staff working toward a STAR 3. An ideal space would offer 3,000-4,000 square feet space to lease or purchase within the boundaries of the North Star School District. While churches and community centers are often a good fit, commercial buildings may also be a potential option.

Finding a new home for the child care center is crucial, as Somerset County already faces a severe shortage of child care. County-wide, there were 2,560 children under the age of 5 that needed care in 2020. Of the county’s 27 licensed center-, family-, and group-based providers listed with the state, there were only 1,341 child care slots available and no other providers in the Jennerstown and Boswell areas.

Child care is an essential support for children and families. Without it, parents can’t go to work. Community members with possible locations for a child care center within the North Star School District boundaries are encouraged to reach out to Lisa Stofko at 814-262-0732 ext. 249 or lstofko@thelearninglamp.org.

The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2020, The Learning Lamp served 28,938 youth/adults from 51 public school districts and 36 other schools and organizations in 13 Pennsylvania counties.

Our programs include: child care and preschool, after school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, school staffing, alternative education programs for at-risk students, online learning, credit recovery, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.


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