Mackenzie Stites, the Director of HOPE Learning Center in Chariton, gave a presentation on the center to the Chariton City Council at their meeting Monday, Feb. 1.

HOPE Learning Center is the primary day care center in Chariton and is located on the second floor of the Vredenburg Center at 1711 Osceola Ave. in Chariton. HOPE is an acronym that stands for Helpful, Open, Positive, and Educational.

HOPE Learning Center is a 501 © 3 non-profit charity that’s open on Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Vredenburg Center is still owned by Lucas County Health Center in Chariton.

Stites introduced herself to the council as the director of HOPE Learning Center and said that she was formerly Mackenzie Krutsinger.

Stites told the council that they’re doing pretty well out at HOPE and she told them what HOPE stands for.

Stites also informed the council that there’s a board that oversees HOPE Learning Center and the current officers/members are as follows; Carie Masters-President, Peggy White-Vice President, Chelsea Belcher-Treasurer, Mackenzie Hardin-Secretary, Matt Beenblossom and Kris Kaska.

“We offer childcare for kids from six weeks to 12 years old. We also have a three-year-old preschool program. Brenda Peterson holds a tutoring center and a math club that are both part of HOPE Learning Center,” Stites told the council.

Stites said that HOPE Learning Center currently serves 73 families and they now have 102 children that are either there full-time or part-time. They also have four new babies starting in March. HOPE Learning Center has the capacity to serve up to 135 children.

“We just went over 100 kids. When COVID-19 started, we fluctuated about 40 percent and we were down to 60-70 kids this past March and April,” Stites said.

Stites told about the playing equipment they have at HOPE Learning Center, which includes a swing, climbing caterpillar, balls, and jump rope.

“We know HOPE Learning Center is important and we like to know what’s going on out there,” Chariton Mayor Denny Bisgard said to Stites following her presentation.

After she spoke the council told Stites that they appreciated her coming to the meeting and making the presentation.