Parents raise money to help ex-director of closed preschool open her own

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 10:14 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s been almost a month since Damonte Ranch KinderCare closed after receiving multiple resignations from teachers. Now, local parents are coming together to help the former administrator of the preschool open her own center.

Before KinderCare took over operations of the school on Prototype Drive in Reno, parents and staff knew it as the Child Garden of South Meadows.

“That transition from private into a corporate world is a very different world than what the Child Garden was known for,” said former teacher Sarah Bellows.

Bellows worked at the Child Garden for a decade, under the direction of Pam Gunzburg.

“I really became who I am today, career-wise, in large part due to her,” said Bellows.

After the change in ownership, Gunzburg was dismissed. Months later, the center closed leaving many parents in limbo. That inspired Bellows to create a gofundme to get Gunzburg her own center.

“Parents of younger children need places they can trust their children to be, and there is no doubt the center that Pam begins and runs over will be home away from home,” said Bellows.

One supporter of the fundraiser is Sha’vonne Mclean who used to be Gunzburg’s right hand.

“I got to be her assistant director,” said Mclean. “It takes a village to raise a child and she believes that. It’s not just about money, it’s not just about what she can get but what she can give.”

When KinderCare closed she was on maternity leave and is now struggling to find childcare.

“Being able to create a bond for children and families that were not mine but now to not have that for my own children, it sucks,” said Mclean while wiping her tears.

So far, more than $4,000 has been raised. The ultimate goal is $30,000.

“I always used to say welcome to Child Garden, where they start as seeds and they grow tall trees and this is Pam’s time for her to grow to the tree that she has created so many people and so many families to be,” said Mclean.

Gunzburg did not want to appear on camera but says she’s excited to have her own school.

If you would like to donate or know of any grants available, contact Bellows.

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