City of Refuge volunteers begin turning an empty building into a preschool
The City of Refuge started its third day of interior demolition for its new cross-cultural preschool on Monday.
Volunteers and contractors signed up to renovate the empty building on the corner of Garth and Walnut Street with new walls and floors.
"The kids that will be going through this preschool, we want to give them a good start in the education system in Columbia and United States, volunteer Jim Lisenbardt said. "Who knows, these kids can go as far as they want once they've been through this program."
The nonprofit organization aims to have the school finished by January 2024.
"Many of them have come to us, really wanting opportunities for the 3- to 5-year-old children, to learn in a cross-cultural environment that's going to prepare them for what kindergarten is like when they get to school," Director of Development Dan Szy said.
They even plan to add a new playground in the parking lot.
Szy believes the downtown Columbia location of the preschool is a perfect opportunity to bring in kids from the entire city.
"This will be open to not only the refugee families that we serve but to other families," Szy said. "Where kids don't have a refugee background and may have stronger English languages skills, so that they can participate together, play together, and learn together."
The preschool is possible due to a grant from the Missouri Neighborhood Assistance Program.