Sister Janet M. Stankowski has a dream for the children of American Fork. That dream could be closer to reality with the help of the city's planning commission.
Sister Stankowski, pastoral administrator for St. Peter's Church, 622 N. 600 East, would like to have an educational development center for children housed in a recently added wing of the church.On Wednesday, May 1, the American Fork Planning Commission will discuss an ordinance allowing day-care centers in residential zones. If approved, Sister Stankowski will have crossed one of the major hurdles in establishing the center.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to do what I have trained for," she said. Sister Stankowski is in the third year of a six-year contract with the St. Peter's Church. She came to Utah after teaching in Florida for 15 years.
Sister Stankowski hopes that with the help of other churches and organizations, a non-denominational center can be developed to help infants, latchkey children and teenagers who need a protective haven during the day or for after-school activities.
"Part of my vision is that down the road we have something to help in child care," she said. "The important thrust is to keep families together. All churches should be interested in families and child care."
In Sister Stankowski's congregation alone more than 100 families have expressed support for the project. Many families have children who could use the center right now. "A number of those employed cannot meet their child care needs - they don't have affordable child care," she said.
But Sister Stankowski needs help.
She is hoping for financial aid from community grants and has even sought help in a one-time donation from her order of Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Right now, volunteers from all faiths willing to donate time or money to help complete the facilities would be an added blessing.
"I believe with the right funding, volunteer support and interest we can make a more desirable community."
As part of the center, Sister Stankowski envisions an opportunity for adults who have not been able to complete their education, hold down jobs, or develop their talents to work in child-care programs.
"People leave child-care jobs to go to other jobs that offer benefits. I'm hoping we will address the low pay and benefits, and will encourage the education of people here."