Preschool parents save day, school
By Jesse Phelps
Sometimes it takes a little extra.
The Country Day Christian School, a preschool and after-school
program run out of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Meiners
Oaks, was threatened with closure recently, but the efforts of
parents have saved it. For now.
Donna Ellis, who teaches in the after-school program, said that
just over a week ago, the church brass said they'd need to close
the doors of the preschool within 10 days. Apparently, some of
the playground equipment was not up to standards and enrollment
A parent by the name of Rose Moniot, Ellis said, "took matters
into her own hands."
Said Ellis, "She personally came in, helped clean, and got
donations from Ace Hardware in Meiners Oaks. So we're going to
try to upgrade the classrooms and replace all the playground
Moniot said she was merely doing what was best for her child.
"My son has been there since he was 2, and is now going
to be 10. I just felt that was something I should do only because
my son had been there since he was 2 years old," she said.
Moniot said she found out about the potential closure from other
parents and immediately went to talk to those in charge of the
church and its facilities. "I said, 'This can't happen.
How come we weren't informed that the school was in such dire
straights?' I told them if there was anything I could do, I could
help as a parent.
"They said we needed new play structures and we don't have
enough children. I said, 'I'm sure we can take care of that,
just give me enough time.'"
She said that it strengthened her resolve when she found a note
of prayer written by her son. "Oh please, Lord, you are
our teacher," the note read. "Please help us get money
and don't close our school."
"I just looked at my husband," said Moniot, "and
said we can't let this happen."
So she started her campaign, raising donations in the form of
cash and other gifts, including supplies from Ace Hardware and
the time and efforts of contractors who demolished the old playground
equipment in the schoolyard. "Someone else donated sand,"
said Moniot. "And all the parents are getting together to
recoup the classroom."
No estimate for the total renovations was available but Ellis
said the playground's cost alone will come in around $8,000.
Said Ellis, "That's our first step."
Meanwhile, she encourages sign-ups for kids, as well as donations
from the community. "We would like the community to know
that the school is open and is available for after-school care,"
said Ellis. "We offer different activities on different
days: A Lego day, a sports day, and a bible-based curriculum,
homework time, movie time and arts and crafts." 10 kids
currently make use of the after-school program and Ellis estimated
that 15 to 18 are enrolled in the school program during the day.
Monoit said that people who wish to help can donate money by
sending it to 291 El Roblar, the church's address. "Just
send a check and specify as a donation and whether you want a
receipt," she said. All donations are tax-deductible.
"The teachers are fabulous and the whole curriculum is great,"
she said. "They teach the kids about Christianity, morals,
standards and also help with their homework."
Max Sterner agrees. He is nine years old and said he's been coming
to Country Day since he was two. He loves being there with his
pals and working with his teachers. "I can see all my friends
and get my homework done and that's it," he said.
Monoit told the church brass that she's not interested in thanks
because she's just doing her part. "I'm not doing it for
me, I'm doing it for the children," she said.
The Ojai Valley News
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