Host Jeremy C. Park talks with Alyssa Dituro, Executive Director of the McNeilly Center for Children, who highlights their mission and efforts to provide high quality, affordable early care and education to children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, whose parents are working, in job training, or at school. Nestled on five acres in historic McFerrin Park, McNeilly has been assisting families for over 100 years. Parenting education and social services are provided for the families of enrolled children. During the interview, Alyssa talks about the organization’s history, mission and programs, the impact of the pandemic, their advocacy work, how the community can support their efforts and more.
The McNeilly Center for Children is one of Middle Tennessee’s largest providers of quality child care for low-income families. McNeilly provides a need-based financial “scholarship” program based on a sliding scale and recognizes that the family is the foundation of every child’s life. McNeilly provides support services to help parents strengthen their parenting skills and assist families in solving problems, in addition to a providing a quality education.
The need for quality affordable childcare is an ever-present one in our community and often makes the difference between a family who is stuck in a cycle of poverty and a family that is on its way to self-sufficiency. The services of McNeilly Center for Children empower low-income families to create and sustain a better life for their families and prepare children for their future. This includes monthly parent support groups, referrals to other community service agencies, and an annual parenting fair. All of our parents are working, attending job training or school. The average annual household income of the families we serve is $19,000 and the average family consists of four members.