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Board of Trustees Member
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1538 Central Ave
Ashland Child Development provides a healthy breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack each day. Our meals and snacks meet, and often exceed, federal and state standards for nutritious meals. Because infants require a specialized diet plan, we ask parents to prov... more.
Board of Trustees | Ashland Child Development
Diane Zwick, Rev. Dr.
Diane Zwick, president of the board of the Ashland Child Development Center, has loaned the child development center money in recent months to keep the center going.
The center moved into a new building recently so it could serve more children. Instead, it's enrollment has dropped by more than 20 kids since July because of the cuts to the child care assistance program. That's a financial loss of between $9,000 and $12,000 a month. Staff hours have also been reduced, Zwick said. Four centers in counties close to the Ashland Childhood Development Center have closed in the past year, Zwick said. The cuts are hurting centers. But it's hurting the kids that need early learning experiences the most, Zwick said. "A lot of our children that go on the subsidy program do not have as much opportunity to get a preschool education," Zwick said, who has a doctorate in education.
"We're moving because this new place has 9,000 square feet on one floor and the old building had 6,000 square feet on four floors," Dr. Diane Zwick, president of the board of trustees of ACDC, said.
The building was built by a clothing store called Corman's for retail sales; Community Hospice purchased it 18 years ago and, when that organization got a new building, Zwick said it offered ACDC a deal that couldn't be refused: Hospice would sell the building to ACDC for $400,000, which is what Hospice paid for it. Zwick said ACDC has spent $100,000 on remodeling, but it was still a great deal. Zwick said separating the younger children protects them from some contagious childhood diseases.
Zwick retires from ACDC after 35 years
Diane Zwick, who opened the child care center on Central Avenue in 1973, retired as its director effective Jan. 1. "I told them we had to charge in order to get the people we needed to run a good children care center," Zwick said. "They thought they could do it with volunteers, and I knew that wouldn't work." When the planned relationship with the YWCA did not work out, Zwick and her supporters created a board of directors and obtained status as a non-profit agency. That's the way it has been since. "His office would call about every two weeks and ask how we were coming along," Zwick said. ACDC is now serving its second generation of children, and Zwick said she has tried to keep track of her former students. "I know we have several Fulbright Scholars who began their education at Ashland Child Development Center, and of our first class, all but one has graduated from college," Zwick said. "A good preschool education helps get children started on the right foot and can often identify and correct learning problems before the children begin school." ACDC works hard to maintain its three-star rating from the state, Zwick said. One reason is because the highest rating shows it is offering children a quality program, she said. There is also a financial incentive. Three-star centers that accept low-income children can receive up to $15,000 a year from the state to purchase equipment and cover other expenses. "That's money we really need," Zwick said. When it first opened, ACDC was only a kindergarten program for older preschool children. At the time the Ashland schools did not have a kindergarten program. "We had a lot of kids in our kindergarten program, and I can guarantee you that every one of them could read before they started the first grade," Zwick said. "We really gave them a head start on their education." Since its creation, funding has always been "a huge problem" for the center, Zwick said. "We simply cannot pay for the quality of child care and education young children need and deserve with what parents are able to pay in tuition," she said. "We must depend on fundraising, grants and other sources of income to keep our door open. Even the subsidies we receive for accepting low-income children only pay for part of the cost of keeping them." Zwick said she began to think about retiring about a year ago and began to look for a replacement. While serving as ACDC's director, Zwick earned her doctorate in education leadership from OU. "I'm qualified to be a school superintendent, but I'm not that crazy," she said laughing. Instead, she will continue to oversee an in-home food program ACDC operates for private homes that care for children. Zwick said she also hopes to become an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church and to travel. "I also want to spend more time with people," she said.
Diane Zwick, director of ACDC, said she would love to find more volunteers for the center."I'd really love to have a volunteer in each building," she said, adding it would amount to having a volunteer per building for three hours each morning.She said volunteers are needed to help with a variety of age groups - babies, toddlers, preschool age and school-age children - as well as in the kitchen and office.