Auburn Day Care Centers, first named Auburn Day Nursery, began in 1964, through the work of a group of concerned local citizens. The group consisted of Clarence Morgan, Clark Hudson, Nancy Spears, Ralph Foster, Jim Haygood, and Marge Kelly. The purpose of the group was to provide affordable, full-time care in a safe environment for children of low-income working mothers. This special interest group later became the Board of Directors of Auburn Day Nursery.
The first class of Auburn Day Nursery met in the basement of White Street Baptist Church. Food was prepared by the Tasty Shop, owned and operated by Mrs. Ella B. White. Mrs. Gwendolyn Banks of Tuskegee was the Director and Mrs. Willye (Bill Henderson), who retired in 1993, was her teaching assistant. In the summer of 1964, the Nursery moved to Moton Center, a building provided by the Auburn Housing Authority, and Mrs. Henderson became Center Director. Mrs. Henderson’s responsibilities included teaching, collecting fees, depositing money, doing payroll, relating to parents, buying groceries and acting as janitor.
Those first years at White Street Baptist Church and Moton Center were hard times, financially, for Auburn Day Nursery. The teachers were paid less than minimum wage and salaries were not always paid on a regular basis. There were months when Board Members chose to pitch in money of their own to make ends meet. Auburn Day Nursery operated from one day to the next during those years; not knowing what the next month’s operating money would be. Some of the staff members who were employed during the early years and remained on the ADCC staff were Mary Gunn, Maggie Phillips, Ann Higgins, Betty Keith and Lela Morgan. Mattie Simms and Mary Brooks were added to the Board of Directors during this time frame. Mattie Simms served as Board Chairperson from to the time of her passing. The primary operating funds received during the years between 1964 and 1974 were from parent fees, Auburn United Way and the Child Care Food Program (United States Department of Agriculture). Auburn Day Nursery operated at Moton Center under Mrs. Henderson’s and the Board’s supervision until 1975. In July of 1974, the Articles of Incorporation were established, making the program a non-profit corporation. At this time, the name was changed to Auburn Day Care Centers, Inc.
In September 1975, the Board of Directors secured additional state and federal funding, through the Department of Human Resources, which allowed them to expand services and hours of operation, and to open a second center in the Ridgecrest Apartments (Auburn Housing Authority). Mary Lynn Porter was employed as Director and other office staff members were Wanda Lewis, Bookkeeper/Secretary, and Eva Williams, Family Outreach Worker. Teaching staff employed in 1975 who remain at ADCC is Annie Trimble.
From 1975-1983 ADCC Inc. continued to grow. Moton and Ridgecrest Centers served 76 children ages 18 months to 6 years Boykin Center opened to enroll infants and school-age children, increasing the total enrollment to 124 children. The staff size increased from 12 employees in 1975 to 25 employees. Funding sources increased to include the City of Auburn, the State Special Education Trust Fund, and other charitable organizations.
In 1989, Mary Lynn Porter resigned to establish Child Care Resource Center, a pilot child care management organization for the State of Alabama.
Ethel White was employed as Director of Auburn Day Care Centers, Inc. during a period of transition from State managed Child Care Services to a network of child care management agencies designed to provide a quicker, more efficient manner of handling provider payments, training, and monitoring. The program’s growth continued. The Boykin School-Age Program was expanded to serve 24 additional children. During the fall of 1995, another classroom was built at the Ridgecrest Center to serve 24 additional three-year-old children. This expansion was made possible through a grant from HUD and the collaborative efforts of the local Housing Authority to add a third classroom, complete requirements for accessibility for the handicapped, and to modernize the facility.
The program currently serves 199 children: 40 at Moton Center ages 3-5; 60 at Ridgecrest Center ages 2-3; 99 at Boykin Center ages 6 weeks to 24 months and the Boykin School-Age Program serving 66 ages 5-12. As of September 1, 1997 the program expanded to serve 39 additional school age children bringing the ADCC total enrollment capacity to 238.
The Auburn Day Nursery/Auburn Day Care Centers, Inc. have a long and proud history in the Auburn community. We appreciate the role so many have played in our growth throughout the past 50 years as ADCC continues to serve families in a quality way.
The Infant Toddler Program was relocated to a new wing at the Boykin Community Center December 5, 2001. This seven room expansion came as a result of a grant submitted by Ethel White to the City of Auburn for use of HUD Community Development Block Grant Funds. Four of the seven new rooms house Auburn Day Care Centers programs and provide licensed space for 69 infant-toddlers. Prior to the expansion, Auburn Day Care shared space with Project Head Start. While this arrangement was cost effective we were limited in our capacity to provide a developmentally appropriate environment to house a comprehensive program for our school-agers since we were co-existing in a space designed for 3 and 4 year olds who attend Project Head Start.
We are currently acquiring materials and equipment to house both the Infant-Toddler Program and the School Age Project. Though difficult and frustrating because of extremely limited funds we are enjoying this opportunity to improve the physical plant and furnishing needed to achieve a quality program.
A special thank you to the many people in the Auburn, Opelika, and surrounding areas who responded to our Shower List of items and materials needed to furnish our new addition. The Auburn Day Care family, parents, and teachers appreciate all you do for Auburn Day Care Centers, Inc.