The staff and owners of the new Carter Childcare Westin Olive Hill had a ton of details to tend to before opening their doors and hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce, with rules and regulations related to Covid-19 complicating matters even more.
The facility, conveniently located at 333 Warrior Drive (Building 1) between West Carter Middle and West Carter High School, is now divided up into sections to be enjoyed according to age groups as they welcome children from birth to 12 years old. At maximum capacity, the center has space and resources for 70 children.
“I want it to be like a home environment for children – Like going to grandma’s house,” said Shelby Riley, who will serve as Co-Director alongside Director and lifelong friend Sheila Porter. Both Riley and Porter will have their own grandchildren among the little ones they’ll be caring for.
Porter and Riley, along with owners Ed and Shawna Messer, all graduates of West Carter High School, will be open at Carter Childcare West from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and encourage parents to simply drop by to learn more about what they have to offer.
The center will be proving snacks, breakfast and lunch meals according to the USDA program.
“They will be fed. We want them to leave here feeling like it’s home away from home,” Porter said with a smile, explaining proper nutrition is a major concern for parents seeking childcare.
The new center features an indoor playground, along with a full kitchen and laundry, and meets all ADA requirements for handicap access. Staff members are trained and experienced working with autistic children as well as those with special needs. A pediatric defibrillator is in place, and staff members have all been trained in CPR and first aid.
Carter Childcare West also participates in Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance for families who qualify according to financial guidelines.
Riley and Porter emphasized that Carter Childcare West is more than a simple babysitting service. “We are an early learning center,” Riley said, explaining they work with children to prepare them to enter Kindergarten.
“We wanted to open this to help our hometown grow,” Riley said, prompting immediate nods of agreement from everyone in the room.
Co-owner Ed Messer added, “We would like to thank Allen Wilson for making available such a wonderful facility. We would also like to thank Mark Strother and the Commercial Bank Of Grayson for making this all possible!”
For more information about Carter Childcare West, visit the facility at 333 Warrior Drive (Building 1), call 606-315-0111, or visit:
Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON Carter County Post