Dunbar Center showcased at Chamber gathering

You could almost hear their voices echoing in the hallways. Almost, not quite.

The classrooms and playgrounds of the Dunbar Center, an early learning center in Banner Lake, were opened late to host the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce on March 30 for its monthly after-hours social. The event was sponsored by Hobe Sound attorney Trent Steele, who is president of the Dunbar Center’s board of directors. “I really believe that the Dunbar Center is Hobe Sound’s best-kept secret,” Steele said, as he addressed the crowd gathered on the playground.

Steele also is probably the Dunbar Center’s staunchest advocate and biggest cheerleader, and he’s sure to make you aware that this place teaches the youngest, the most vulnerable in our community and does so in a nurturing environment. No one got out the door after the Chamber’s gathering without a pamphlet in his or her hand describing all the center’s programs that include:

–Early Head Start for children from birth to three, the only Early Head Start program in Martin County.
–Tender Times, a program for three-year-old children to begin the transition into larger groups and slightly more structure.
–Butterflies is the pre-kindergarten program to help sharpen the learning skills of four-year-olds.
–Then, finally, kindergarten is offered for five-year-old children.

In addition to these classes, the center remains open until 6pm to assist families with day care. The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, one of the most stringent accrediting agencies in the US, and tuition assistance is available for those who qualify.

Considered a vital element of the Dunbar Center’s educational program is its Monthly Parent Night, when representatives from area agencies offer presentations of significance to families, including family budgeting, health care, nutrition, and local agency services. Babysitting and dinner are provided to families, who benefit not only from the education topics, but also from the sense of community that results. “This truly is place that makes a real impact on children’s futures,” Steele said, “and we’re always needing—and always looking for—people who are willing to serve on the board. We need you.”

For more information, call 772.545.0808, or complete a volunteer form from their website: dunbarchildrencare.org.