DAVIDSON – The adage “it takes a village to raise a child” is especially true when it comes to the Davidson-Cornelius Child Development Center.

The nonprofit five-star early child development center on Gamble Street cares for babies 6 weeks old through pre-kindergarten regardless of race, ethnicity or income.

Thanks to a recent donation and a grant, the center is remodeling for an additional toddler care room, named The Donaldson Family Room in memory of Ed Donaldson, plus can now offer more scholarships for families needing a helping hand.

“The CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) of $95,000 is a game-changer for an organization the size of ours,” Board of Directors President Ellen Donaldson said. “Scholarships are for low-income working families. We are thrilled about it and are trying to get the word out to those who may have the kind of needs we can address.”

About half the children using the facility come from families with limited income and are single moms or dads who would otherwise have to choose between working or staying at home with their children. The center’s staff wants to make sure parents have options.

That was the basis for the center’s establishment in 1969, after three Davidson children were killed in a fire while home alone.

“Mom had no access to child care and left children at home as she worked as a maid,” Donaldson said. “All three precious children perished and the whole community was devastated. Citizens, businesses churches, black and white, wanted to make sure it would not happen again.”

Among the things that make it so special is that it isn’t a place for “babysitting,” according to Director Libby Johnston, but truly educating the children.

A child with palsy learned so much at the center, he went on to a public elementary school. Another who was born with a drug addiction has been able to go through therapy and improve to his age level.

Board Member Darrell Chapman gave a moving story of how his daughter left an abusive relationship and brought her children to the area. Going to the center, they were able to find a safe haven, have a place that rallied around them and gave their mother her life back.

Keeping the facility running hasn’t always been easy, especially with decreased available grants. They also rely on donations, not just of money but time as well. Johnston said they could use help with painting, yard work, book donations and volunteers during lunch hours. Those wanting to volunteer should apply and must go through a criminal background check to be approved. 

Plans are to build a new playground with a more natural environment.



Want to know more? Those interested in volunteering or enrolling their child can make an appointment to go to the center or stop by weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Details: www.dc-childcare.org or 704-892-1228.