It’s been two years, but on Friday afternoon Cheryl Heidt, executive director of Enderby’s newly expanded preschool, finally got to see her dream come to fruition when the facility officially re-opened its doors.
“We did it,” Heidt told a crowd of roughly 70 donors, officials and supporters gathered at the Meadow Crescent building Friday afternoon.
“But we couldn’t have done it without all the support we’ve had from the community and our donors.”
Heidt continued, thanking a long list of supporters, including the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan, Enderby and District Financial and the Enderby Lions Club.
She said their initial support, a combined donation of $20,000, enabled the project to receive a grant of $425,000 from the provincial government, toward the $625,000 project.
According to Heidt, the project was born out of necessity. Prior to the expansion, the school had 23 after-school spaces and two pre-school spaces of 20 children each. The expansion, she continued, allows for 32 additional spaces of multi-age children and ages three to five.
As things moved forward, Heidt added, the donations kept coming.
“We encountered unforeseen expenses and the Kalamalka Rotary Club came to our rescue with a $20,300 donation. This was such a relief as this enabled us to purchase all of the cabinetry,” she said, noting that the CFNO later came through with further donations of an additional $20,000, which allowed her to purchase new equipment for the school and expand the existing coatroom and purchase cubbies for the area.
A $10,000 donation from Farm Credit Canada allowed her to purchase all of the cubbies in the daycare section as well as appliances and cribs.
“In addition to all of this, their staff came out last fall and helped sew bed sheets for the cots, and then this year they helped clean toys. I just can’t get over how generous people have been,” she told the crowd with tears in her eyes.
However, the biggest thanks, she said, had to go to her husband, Chris Heidt, who supported her over the past three years and enabled her to do the project.
“I gift you your office back and a one month vacation where I take no work with me,” she quipped.
Before the crowd dispersed to tour the facility, several officials and donors had kind words for Heidt herself, and pointed to her tireless efforts to keep the project on track and doing everything from ordering flooring to picking out cabinets and sewing pillow covers for cribs.
“The Enderby Preschool is a vital resource centre in our community, offering quality daycare and after school programs right here in our community,” said Enderby and District Financial branch manager, Marilyn Hareuther. “It’s a fundamental need here in our community and we thank you (Cheryl) for everything you’ve done.”