Jan 11, 2023 | By: Hanky Hazelton

Sen. Tina Smith Visits Brainerd YMCA After Helping Secure Funding for Child Care

After helping to secure $600,000 in funding for the Brainerd Family YMCA, Sen. Tina Smith visited with the group on Tuesday to see how the center plans on expanding their services to help alleviate local child care shortages.

The Brainerd Family YMCA has purchased a building that will be developed into a daycare center, which has the goal of helping meet the community’s child care needs. Sen. Smith met with the organization to understand the Y’s passion for the work that they are doing.

“I have done a lot of work in the area of child care, and I have seen firsthand that when communities come together to try to solve the problem of the shortage of child care that you can learn a lot from that effort, so I knew today that I would learn today from the good work that they’re doing, and it was a wonderful combination of having a chance to talk to these folks,” said Sen. Smith.

The full project is estimated to cost over $1,000,000, but $600,000 in federal funding was recently secured by Sen. Smith and Sen. Amy Klobuchar to help make the renovations on the youth development project possible.

For their part, the Brainerd Family YMCA was thankful for the Senator’s visit.

“We’re really excited, but more excited about her enthusiasm for the project and willingness to support it,” said Shane Riffle, Brainerd Family YMCA CEO. “She was instrumental in providing the support that allowed us to get this Congression[ally]-directed funding, so it’s huge for the project. It’s a significant part of the funding, and we were just really honored by her visit.”

Sen. Smith emphasized that while some may assume there are no available opportunities like this in rural and small-town communities like Brainerd, that’s absolutely not the case.

“In fact, there’s tons of great stuff going on, so I want people … to understand that there is a lot of creativity and innovation happening that is making this a great place to live, and it’s wonderful for me as Senator for all of Minnesota to be able to see what they’re doing so I can help spread the word,” added Sen. Smith.

Once the full amount of money has been received, the Brainerd Family YMCA has a goal to complete everything by the end of 2023.

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