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Winning big in Kiddy Kountry

Although a number of five-star daycare facilities received honors at the “State of the Young Child Recognition Ceremony,” one three-star facility also shined bright.
The ceremony was held in Gaston County Wednesday night and Vale’s Kiddy Kountry Child Care received two awards. The center improved from one to three stars in just one year.
“We are here tonight to reward the people who care for children everyday,” said Jennie Stultz, mayor of Gastonia.
The event was hosted by the Partnership for Children of Lincoln and Gaston Counties and the Gaston County Extension Service.
The partnership was founded to help facilities receive funding.
“We take grant applications and go through and weigh the programs and see how each facility would be using the funding,” said Charla Parton, the Partnership’s public information coordinator.
Many daycares do not have adequate funding, staffing or facilities to make the state standard.
Others need help achieving a high number of stars, which rate each center.
“We honor these facilities because their commitment to the children of the community is even greater than the bottom line,” Parton said.
There are more than 20 facilities in Gaston and Lincoln counties that received a five-star ranking, the highest level of accomplishment. More than 100 received the four star ranking.
Kiddy Kountry, a three-star facility, received special recognition because of dedication to children and efforts toward facility improvement.
“I was very surprised by the award,” said Donna Quates, owner of Kiddy Kountry. “We have a very nice staff. We worked really hard this year to get our stars.”
Maggie Dollar, Lincoln County health director, presented Kiddy Kountry with the Health, Safety and Nutrition Award.
“There has been a lot of improvement in this day care this year,” Dollar said. “All (Quates’) staff is now enrolled in Gaston College. She really understands why it’s important to keep her facility clean.”
Kiddy Kountry also received the Helen R. Marvin Award, named after a retired legislator who worked tirelessly for the needs of children.
The award honors facilities that have exhibited a tireless commitment to the education of children in Lincoln County. This is the first year it has been presented.
“I’m very proud,” said Tammy Sailers, assistant director of Kiddy Kountry. “We have a lot of good parents, a real good staff, but really, it’s the kids that make our day out there.”
The success is sweet, but for Quates, the day-to-day rewards are even sweeter.
“I’ve been working in child care for 31 years. There’s nothing else I could do. That’s all I know,” Quates said. “I love them. I take care of them.”
by Mary Williams

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