Area children and their families will benefit from a new facility that will house an established community service: The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. The Coalition kicked off the “Commit to the Brick” capital campaign, a fundraising initiative that will support the new building located at 117 Hall Street in downtown Monroe.
Rapid progress was the catalyst for the new building, said Dr. Lynn Clark, executive director of the coalition, which is currently headquartered on Louisville Avenue. “During the past three years, we have seen tremendous growth through new programs like Early Head Start and the Family Resource Center. Subsequently, we have increased our staff and added sustainable funding to our existing programs. This move will centralize all of our staff, which are currently spread across five sites.”
The coalition is a non-profit organization that works with teachers, parents, state government, child care centers, school systems, case managers, and professionals that ensure quality experiences for children ages 0-8. The coalition serves: Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, and West Carroll parishes.
The two-story building will be surrounded by a large green space that will include a fitness path, an early childhood outdoor classroom, a state-of-the art Early Head Start playground, and a family garden.
Culinary expert Cory Bahr, who was recently a finalist on the television show, Food Network Star, proudly advocates the family garden.
"I am committed to enacting positive change in our community from within the four walls of my businesses," says Bahr. "My involvement with the coalition allows me to do this by working with our local youth and inspiring them to eat healthy, seasonally, and sustainably.”
The first floor provides direct services for parents and educators in support of children. Parents can receive support at the Family Resource Center, Child Care Connections and Early Head Start. The building also boasts an Early Head Start classroom. The second floor will house administrative staff.
The coalition, which will move into the new building December 1, is “proud to be part of the transformation happening in downtown Monroe,” said Clark. “With the support of developer Wayne Williamson and community partners, the coalition will bring together our signature programs under one roof to create a one-stop-shop for children and families in northeast Louisiana.”