EcoHouse

Children Today is expanding with a new facility to better serve Long Beach.

The new building will feature a state-of-the-art preschool and day care center at 2951 Long Beach Blvd. The building and grounds are expected to be completed by Oct. 20 and fully operational by December.

Marsha Naify Children Today board member and chair of the EcoHouse subcommittee said $3 million went into the construction and design for the new location.

“No expense has been spared in making this facility modern, safe and fun for the kids,”Naify said in an email. “EcoHouse is also a green building that will be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Council.”

EcoHouse, she said, was actually a remodel of an old Oakwood Academy school. The new state-of-the-art building, she said, will consist of four areas such as the infant rooms, the toddler classroom, the preschool classroom and an administration area.

“Among EcoHouse’s many features is the main play field for preschoolers,” Naify said. “The field features a natural landscape with natural topography, gardens and natural plays capes including a log tunnel crawl, a log slide and climbing wall.”

Children Today plans to combine all of their practices and services at EcoHouse. Services include the Play House program where a child is assigned a primary caregiver. The caregiver is responsible for the social, emotional, physical and educational needs. After they first meet a child, a caregiver’s plans are usually based on the child’s history or interest.

Children Today’s Executive Director Tonya Burns said the agency also cares for children who have suffered from abuse and neglect including those in foster care.

“EcoHouse has been specially designed to be a real sanctuary for these children,” Burns said. “It’s a beautiful, serene and secure space that we believe any family would be proud to send their children to.”

Though their family-support services, Children Today provides families with food, clothing, shoes, diapers and hygiene products. Therapists also offer mental health services.

The agency currently provides their services through two locations in Long Beach. The Playhouse North Long location at 1900 E. South St and Play House West is at 525 E. Seventh St.

“This will be the first time in history that we have our own operating space at EcoHouse,” Burns said. “As an agency that prides itself on providing high-quality services, now ‘where we do our own work, will match how we do our work.’”

Since Children Today is a nonprofit, the agency looks to the public to help support their programs and EcoHouse. Because of this, Children Today launched a Foundation for the Future Campaign.

Through the campaign, Burn said $2 million has been raised for the project. The public can donate to the campaign at www.childrentoday.org/ecohouse.html. Now their main goal, Naify said, is to raise money to pay off the construction loan. She also said the agency has applied to several foundation grants.

Children Today raises money for their services through their Holiday Cheer event, which features a live and silent auction and also their Walk and Run.

For more information, visit www.childrentoday.org.

Sarah George can be reached at sarah.whiteford@gazettes.com.

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