YMCA And St. Paul’s Celebrate New YMCA Early Learning Center

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Pictured, from left to right, are Nelson Irvine, Rev. Brad Whitaker, Janet Dunn, Jessica Storey and Erskine Oglesby
Pictured, from left to right, are Nelson Irvine, Rev. Brad Whitaker, Janet Dunn, Jessica Storey and Erskine Oglesby

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga in partnership with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church celebrated the ribbon-cutting of a new expanded preschool – The YMCA Early Learning Center at St. Paul’s on Thursday. 

The site will enable the Y to serve an additional 45 preschoolers, in addition to its current Downtown Family YMCA Preschool location. In 2018, the Downtown Preschool served 189 total preschoolers.   

“Fostering the potential of our youth is at the heart of what we do,” said Janet Dunn, president and CEO for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga. “This expansion is, in part, in response to Chatt 2.0.”  

"Research shows that 80 percent of brain development happens before the age of three. The YMCA Early Learning Center at St. Paul’s will specifically serve these younger preschoolers," officials said.  

“Today, we celebrate the continued use of this space in a new and exciting partnership with the YMCA,” said Rev. Brad Whitaker, rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. “St. Paul’s and the YMCA both are coming together with a common concern for the care and education of children and the support of their families.”  

The YMCA Preschool Program is Christian-based, and includes healthy meals, swim lessons, challenging and fun learning experiences, daily physical activities, open door policy for parents, scholarships and daily schedules with free play.  

The YMCA thanks the following supporters who made the grand opening a success:  Scenic City Venture Fund; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; Lyndhurst; The Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee; Osborne Foundation; and The Maclellan Foundation.


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