TOPEKA, Kan. (KTMJ) — SENT Topeka is preparing to open its new SENT Prep Academy — a childcare center that Nikki Ramirez-Jennings, executive director, said will meet a critical need in Topeka’s Hi-Crest neighborhood.
Volunteers have been busy getting the facility ready. Ramirez-Jennings said they hope to open the doors in April.
The facility will initially open for children ages infant to 6 years.
Because of the covid-19 pandemic, the facility anticipates opening at 50 percent capacity, but over time allowing for up to 86 children.
“Our community is a make up of hands, hearts and vision, and so we’ve had great wrap around support to get this initiative up and running,” Ramirez-Jennings said.
Ramirez-Jennings said they’re also currently looking to hire a center director.
She said the ideal candidate will have a passion for kids and serving. You can find the job description and application here.
But the academy isn’t the organization’s only project. SENT volunteers have been working on rebuilding and repairing houses, eliminating certain debt so families have access to the internet during the pandemic and focusing on mental health — an extension of its mission to “Intentionally walk beside neighbors through loving relationships and strategic development.”
“With SENT, what we want to be able to do is — at the end of the day when this community no longer has a need for SENT — to be able to walk away so they can say they did all of this by themselves,” Ramirez-Jennings said.
In the meantime, there’s still work to be done. SENT, along with its volunteers, will continue serving the community, whether it’s through addressing mental health issues or meeting food insecurity needs.