Parents keeping SEBTS child center operating as independent non-profit
January 25 2002 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Parents keeping SEBTS child center operating as independent non-profit | Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Friday, Jan. 25, 2002

Parents keeping SEBTS child center operating as independent non-profit

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor

A group of parents is carrying on a ministry for children that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary closed last summer.

The parents have created a non-profit corporation and plan to relocate the Ruby Reid Child Development Center from its location on the seminary campus into a new building in early March. The new building is about twice the size of the present facility and is about three miles south of campus.

"The focus on Christian values and morals at the center ... will continue on," said David Robbins, who chairs the non-profit's board of directors.

The move will come about nine months after parents learned that the seminary's president, Paige Patterson, decided to close the facility, stating the child development center didn't fit into the seminary's "Statement of Institutional Purpose." Patterson also said at the time he had ideological problems with the seminary sponsoring a child development center although he said that was not a reason for closing.

The decision to close gave parents six weeks to find other care for their children. Shortly after receiving the letter, parents met to discuss their options. Ruby Reid was not only more affordable than most commercial child care centers in the area, it was the only four-star rated center. And it was the only Christian-based center that operated all day five days a week.

"We looked into all the options," Robbins said. That included interviewing people interested in creating a for-profit center.

On Aug. 1, Ruby Reid became an independent non-profit center after 42 years of seminary sponsorship. The seminary has continued to allow the independent center to operate in the original building on campus.

None of the parents desired to start a day care center, either non-profit or for-profit, Robbins said. But the parents wanted other children to experience what their children had at Ruby Reid, he said. Robbins said his son, Noah, who attended Ruby Reid for two years, loved the school.

The new facility is not only larger, it contains a multi-purpose room where the whole school can gather. The new site is in a new business park located off South Main Street in Wake Forest.

The quality of Ruby Reid since its founding has been a direct result of the seminary, Robbins said. Southeastern no longer sponsors the child care center, but 75 percent of the 22-person staff is directly related to the seminary, either by studying at the school or being married to a student, he said.

"We're still going to recruit teachers and staff from the seminary," Robbins said.

About 25 percent of the center's 86 students are children of seminary students, he said. Last year at this time, more than half of the student body was composed of seminary students' children. When the seminary removed its support from Ruby Reid, it also took a $40 per week subsidy per child for seminary students, Robbins said.

One of the reasons Ruby Reid was ranked a four-star facility was the training of its teachers, he said. Several teachers have college degrees in early childhood development. To encourage that education, Ruby Reid will pay for teachers to take classes related to their teaching.

Robbins is also hoping the new facility will allow the child development school to increase its rating from four to five stars.

Ruby Reid is leasing the building but had to pay about $500,000 to upfit the facility for a child development center, Robbins said. The weekly rate parents pay ranges from $131 for older children to $141 for 1-year-olds. The amount covers operating costs, including the lease.

To help pay for the building's upfit, Ruby Reid is promoting a capital campaign. Contributions can be sent to Ruby Reid Child Development Center Inc., P.O. Box 1124, Wake Forest, N.C. 27588.

"We really need everyone's thoughts and prayers as we move forward," Robbins said. "We've already seen God work. Every time we've reached a wall, God's opened a door. We continue to move ahead in faith."

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1/25/2002 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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