By Molly • 

Relief nursery moves into new space

Molly Walker / News-Register
Lead teacher Aimee Amerson arranges toys for children at A Family Place, the new relief nursery for Yamhill County, just moved into its space at First Baptist Church.

While the therapeutic classroom for eight 2-year-olds won't be in place until October, it will give those already participating in the mom and baby classes, which include 28 infants, 29 other children and their mothers, a permanent place to gather.

Cara Copeland, the nursery's director, said 11 volunteers are already helping with the mom and baby program, including two bus drivers. Drivers and buses have been donated by Lafayette Community Church and Newberg Friends Church, she said.

"It's definately a community effort," Copeland said.

A shower was recently held for the new relief nursery at Hopscotch Toys & Games, with Harvest Fresh providing refreshments. It netted the program about $2,500 worth of toys, plus $500 in cash, courtesy of Hopscotch.

"It was a great day," Copeland said. And she said $3,000 in other donations from the community were enough to ccover the purchase of children's furniture.

"We're excited to have our kids in a top notch facility, with good equipment that is appropriate for their developmental stage," she said. She said the program is just getting underway, and has already built such a word-of-mouth reputation it has a waiting list.

Copeland said home visits were already being conducted with families, giving volunteers the opportunity to start building relationships with them.

Aimee Amerson has been hired as lead teacher, and she recently completed a training program at Family Building Blocks in Salem. Diana Reyes Retana will serve as a bilingual assistant.

The 2-year-olds will meet two mornings a week, when that part of the program gets going, and will be provided with both meals and transportation.

Copeland said First Baptist has been very good to work with as the program begins to establish a physical presence.

"It's not conceptual any more," she said. "We can feel it and see it."

However, additional funds are still being sought.

Copeland said the program needs $85,000 to fully fund its operaion. She said it has raised about $55,000 so far, leaving about $30,000 to go.


Fundraising continues

According to Cara Copeland, director for A Family Place relief nursery, about $55,000 has been raised so far. That leaves it still about $30,000 short, she said.

The new program has been chosen as this year's raise-the-paddle beneficiary at the McMinnville Kiwanis Club's 34th annual Bids for Kids Auction, set to run 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21.

It hopes to raise at least half of the remaining money through pledges made at the event, and Lutheran Community Services Northwest has agreed to match the first $10,000 dollar for dollar. That would serve to turn $15,000 into $25,000 and $20,000 into $30,000.

Agency spokesman Jordan Robinson said Ronni Lacroute was behind the generous matching offer. He said she was putting up her own money to make it possible.

Tickets for the Kiwanis auction run $40, which includes a steak or salmon dinner with all the trimmings. They can be purchased by contacting Club President Stan Sherman at

Anyone wishing to make a direct donation is invited to contact Copeland at



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