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Pope CDC develops great Pope children

  • Published
  • By Emily Farrington-Smith
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Sandra Morrisey, director of the Child Development Center, adheres to the universal truth that children are the future. It is her goal to ensure that the children of Pope are provided a high-quality program in a nurturing environment. 

"Our rewards are in the smiles that we see on the children's faces each day," she said. "and in knowing that the parents can go to work and give 100 percent. 

"One of the strong points of our program is the longevity of the employees," Mrs. Morrisey said. "Many employees have exceeded 20 years at the CDC, with some having entered their thirtieth year employed here." 

Having such a solid staff provides comfort and familiarity to all the children that enter the center every day. 

"Just to see the children come in and go out every day - stopping by the front desk and asking for me so that they can get a hug - is the highlight of my day," Mrs. Morrisey said. "Parents have entrusted to us their greatest asset. Children are our business, our only business, and that's what we do best." 

One of the special programs the CDC offers is called "Give Parents a Break." The intent of the program is to provide a "break" for a few hours each month to active duty Air Force families with responsibility for an ill or disabled family member, spouses or single parents who are going through a short-term deployment or those who are going through a particularly stressful period. The CDC predetermines the dates and times for Give Parents a Break and they accept reservations to ensure each parent gets the time off they deserve. 

In addition to providing exceptional services here at home, the CDC works hard for families separated by deployments. In their program entitled "Keeping Families Connected," the CDC sends deployed parents e-mails and pictures of their children at the center. 

"On one special occasion," Mrs. Morrisey recalled, "We sent a deployed parent a photo of a child's first tooth coming in. That was really something special." 

The CDC provides services for children six weeks to 5 years of age for military personnel and DOD employees working on Pope. Their goal is to meet children's physical, emotional, social and cognitive needs each and every day. 

In association with the CDC is the School Age Program, a program designed for children who need care after the school bell rings. Armond Biggers directs the School Age Program. 

"It is our goal to provide the best child care we can," Mr. Biggers said. "We work hand-in-hand with Pope Elementary School to make sure that we are coinciding with the things the students are learning. We have the same reading program the elementary school does, and we have a fully equipped science program that we are very proud of." 

The School Age Program is available for children 5 to 12 years of age, or children who attend full-day kindergarten classes through sixth grade. During the school year the center is open from 6 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. and then 2:15 until 5:30 p.m. During the summer break from school, they are open from 6 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. 

In accordance with North Carolina state law, no child can be in a childcare facility for more than 10 hours a day. "We like to assist the parents," Mr. Biggers said. "Not be the parents." 

It is through that mantra that both the employees at the CDC and the School Age Program focus on encouraging Pope children to grow as unique and capable individuals in a supportive, happy and safe environment. 

For more information about the School Age Program, contact Armond Biggers at 394-2870, and for additional information about the child development center, contact Sandra Morrisey at 394-4323.