Crisis daycare nearly ready

The Coupeville and Central Whidbey Lions Clubs teamed up Saturday and Sunday to help put the finishing touches on a new crisis daycare that should be opening soon in Coupeville.

Harbor Haven will open on South Main Street next to the Tyee Hotel as soon as the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services approves the licensing for the non-profit organization.

Volunteers were busy on a soggy Saturday putting a new coat of paint on the walls, installing weather stripping and smoke detectors and replacing door handles. They also installed a chain-link fence on the property and the sign that will be in the front of the building.

“We’re doing everything that needs to be done to pass state licensing,” said Cindy McDougall, president of the Harbor Haven board.

She said she was going to contact DSHS Tuesday and, after a walk-through and some additional tweaking, the daycare will be ready to help families in need. She hopes the center will be open by mid February.

Harbor Haven will provide the only crisis nursery on Whidbey Island, which has been without one for roughly three years. In 2004, crisis nurseries in Clinton and Oak Harbor closed because they lost their funding, which came through the now-defunct Child Abuse Prevention Foundation.

Since then, Harbor Haven officials have been working to open their new location. To help with fundraising, the organization operates New Beginnings Thrift Store on North Main Street in Coupeville.

Once complete, Harbor Haven will have enough space for short-term childcare for up to six children. There is also room to grow.

The new childcare facility can provide help for families in stressful situations and parents who need to “take a step back” before situations become abusive.

McDougall was appreciative of all the community help Harbor Haven received to help get the daycare running. In addition to the Lions Club members, McBride Fence, located in Clinton, provided the chain link fence that Harbor Haven is required to install to get its state license.

“We’ve got help from all communities on the island,” McDougall said. Volunteers enjoyed a barbecue Sunday after they finished their work.

She is hoping to work with the Lions Clubs to install a handicap ramp. The organization also helped pay the permitting fees.

“We think it’s a good project. Besides, what else is there to do on a rainy Saturday?” Coupeville Lions Club member Warren Ivy said as he was installing a new doorknob.

Saturday’s event wasn’t the first time the two Lions clubs on Central Whidbey Island have teamed up to help with a community project. Last fall, volunteers from both groups worked together to install the new shop equipment at the new Coupeville High School.

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