Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • ‘Devils Lake Kids’ center on the rise

  • A few weeks ago, it wasn’t a sure thing that the center would even be open for much longer.
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  • By Joe Mellenbruch
    Journal Reporter
    A few weeks ago, it wasn’t a sure thing that the center would even be open for much longer.
    At a meeting last August, concerned parents and employees alike gathered at “Devils Lake Kids,” a local childcare center located in downtown Devils Lake that had run into a spell of financial difficulties, to discuss how to get the facility back on its feet.
    Of the center’s many past problems, organization and accountability were among the most difficult to endure, especially considering that a few weeks ago,  there was no established board leading the center’s finances, and the facility’s directors were often not experienced in managing the stresses involved in running a large-scale daycare center.
    Now, both of those problems have been addressed, and “Devils Lake Kids” has experienced a significant recovery since that point.
    The center’s two directors, Lisa Grafsgaard and Jen Eback, who are sisters and both of whom have prior experience in fields related to childcare, were introduced to an opportunity to lead the center not long after the meeting in August, and since they decided to accept the position, things have been moving in a positive direction for the facility.
    Right now, the facility has capacity for 78 children, and right now, under 40 are cared for, indicating just how much potential there is to further expand and develop the center.
    Grafsgaard and Eback have already indicated that there is a desire to re-awaken the center’s pre-school division, a project that they both hope to pursue in the near future.
    Additionally, the center’s financial situation has also taken a turn for the better, thanks in large part to the center’s new directors as well as the presence of an established, accountable board, a board which is made up almost entirely of parents whose children attend “Devils Lake Kids.”
    One of the biggest challenges threatening the facility’s survival was the amount of debt that it possessed, and still possesses. The debt is a combination of back taxes and unpaid invoices from past clients. However, under this new, responsible leadership, the debt issue is being addressed head on by the new directors and the new board, slowly, but surely.
    And these things would not be happening without the care and attention of its two new directors, who have inherited a massive undertaking with their new positions. With how much disrepair the center was once in, one might wonder why Grafsgaard and Eback got involved in such an integral way.
    According to both of them, they were inspired to take on an involved role at the center because of the 20-30 families that would be affected by its closure should it come to that.
    Page 2 of 2 - Childcare is a service that is in perpetual demand, and Devils Lake is no exception to that. These two ladies did not want to see what could be a productive, helpful childcare facility be reduced to nothingness.
    “That was the biggest part,” Grafsgaard said. “We were thinking of the 20-or-so families in Devils Lake that would have to go without childcare. It’s a service that’s difficult enough to find in the first place, and to turn away that many families if this center had shut down would be devastating.”
    If you are interested in making “Devils Lake Kids” your child care provider, contact Jen or Lisa at 662-7529, or visit them at their downtown location.
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