What a year it’s been. As we move through spring and head into summer, I am facing the end of my first school year with Grow to Know Preschool. We are planning graduation for the 2023 Pre-K class, enrolling students for the Grow to Know Kids Summer Program, and are already thinking about the 2023/24 year.
I admit, stepping into a new opportunity as the director of Grow to Know Preschool last year was a little frightening. In the past 20 years only two women held this position; that fact alone was (and is) intimidating and amazing. I knew I had some pretty big shoes to fill.
The idea to start Grow to Know (GTK) Preschool came from Liz Craig and Kayla Grosshart in 2001. Kayla became the first director, building the preschool to around 60 children from ages 2-5 years old. In 2014, Jane Roebke took over as director, building the preschool to 150 children ranging from 6-weeks-old to Pre-K. Then in 2022, I took up the baton.
Let me tell you, it has been a year of beautiful surprises. Even as someone familiar with Schweitzer and the preschool’s great reputation in the community, I was astounded to realize that GTK is one of the largest outreach missions here at Schweitzer Church. Each week, we serve more than 100 families in the Springfield community and employ around 75 staff members. Every weekday, parents and kids walk into our building and experience our church. Every day as part of their learning, children develop a love and relationship with God and learn about His Word. They experience prayer, Bible reading, attend weekly chapel in the Sanctuary, and memorize Scripture. Through this design, children, families, teachers, the college students, and Ukrainian women that work as aides hear and learn about the Lord daily.
Is the job scary? YES! Every day I am challenged to continue to keep our excellent reputation within the community, and to ensure that we are leading others to Christ, and showing His love well. It’s easy to end this year with a grateful heart. I am beyond blessed to hold this position and can only hope that I can make a difference within GTK and Schweitzer Church.
And to think, I was set to retire in 2022, but God had other plans for me.