Students who grow up in Kansas City’s urban core shouldn’t be denied access to a quality education based on their address, Myron McCant said as he thumbed through renderings of a 15,000-square-foot learning space that could soon grant such students access to a brighter future.
“If you would come into my facility, then you would see that the kids — they got to have hugs first and they got to say ‘Good morning, Mr. Mac,’” McCant, founder of Kiddie Depot Learning Center said of the tactile and developmental impact his learning center has had on area students — who are often labeled for years based on where they’ve grown up — since it first opened its doors in 2012.
Two metro locations and buckets of community support later, Kiddie Depot Learning Center — which offers round-the-clock care and community pre-school — is soon expected to begin work on a $4 million childcare and learning facility on Prospect, McCant said.
“I’ve got over 400 children on the waiting list. So the market is demanding that we build a new facility. [To make it happen] we were approved by the one-eighth-cent sales tax initiative of Kansas City, received some grant funding,” he explained.
Click here to learn about the Pre-K for KC initiative championed by Mayor Sly James.
Breaking ground in May, the new Kiddie Depot Learning Center will double as the site of a pediatric clinic — providing a space for parents to conveniently access routine check-ups and urgent care needs, McCant added.
“My heart is always for the less fortunate and underserved, underprivileged. … There’s so many services that are needed. So we wanted to be one of the stakeholders that brought some of those additional services back [to the urban core],” he said.
Easy access to medical care won’t only benefit Kansas City kids, it could help parents hold jobs, McCant hypothesized.
“One of the challenges that the parents have is when a child needs shot records [or] they get sick, they have to go downtown to Truman Medical Center, Children’s Mercy — which basically takes a day … it causes them to take a day off,” he said. “There could be an occurrence that comes along with that in addition to missing pay.”
Once it’s completed, McCant also hopes to roll out computer science and coding classes at the learning center — a way of preparing older kids for a modern workforce, he said.
From McCant’s perspective, the city’s urban core is the only area in Kansas City left to be developed. Enhanced access to education in the area could be the most significant step toward rewriting the future east of Troost, he said.
“It is becoming a multiplex of different ethnicities — which that’s what is needed in the urban core. It shouldn’t be all black. It takes us all, you know what I mean? It takes all of us to really bring about the comprehensive development and the type of lifestyle that incubates,” McCant said of ongoing work to heal division felt within the urban core.
Not only has providing round-the-clock care cultivated a safer community for kids, its could serve as a means to strengthen Kansas City’s workforce, McCant said.
“When the word spread to the marketplace that we were that service [meeting parents halfway,] then we went and partnered with a few employers,” he said of growing opportunities for collaboration.
As a result, several local employers have partnered with Kiddie Depot Learning Center, allowing the learning center’s class rosters to grow considerably — a method of community building McCant is hopeful to see grow as he looks toward the launch of the new facility, he said.