Strong families are an essential part of strong communities. Whether your family fits into the traditional model or not, neighborhoods thrive best when their families — groups of people who support each other with love — have the support they need. Along with adding two new regular columns on pet health and the natural world, the March and April Currents will focus on the young people in our community. As any parent knows, one of the most important decisions you need to make when you have young children is how to take care of them. And if both parents want or need to work outside the home, day care is a necessity. But how do you find great care for your children when you have to be away? This is a question many young familes in our neighborhood struggle with. Fortunately, for those who want to keep their business in the neighborhood, there are many child care possibilities right here. Since the passage of Welfare to Work, a number of family day cares have sprung up in Riverwest in response to an increased need for child care, and there are several large center options as well. On a recent tour of COA’s child care center, after-school center, and Samson Family Center, I was impressed with the facilities. Caretakers and children alike seemed to be enjoying their work and play. Scaife Day Care, another large neighborhood day care center, recently held an open house to celebrate its newly-renovated second floor, which will allow it to offer more space and activities for school-aged youth. Next month we will be looking at what life is like as a young person — school-aged and in their teens — in Riverwest. What do we as a community have to offer them? Is there enough to do in the area to keep children off the streets and out of trouble? If you have any story ideas or opinions related to this topic, please contact us by phone (265-4016) or e-mail ( –Sonya Jongsma Knauss Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 2 – March 2002