No matter where you live, the fundamentals of a family-friendly environment are key to building and supporting a strong community. Quality schools, safe neighborhoods, and access to affordable childcare are all everyday essentials.

The team behind the KIDS ACADEMY DAYCARE CENTER in Berthold, N.D., knows first-hand how important childcare services are for its small community.

“Our community has struggled to keep sufficient childcare, something we consider to be a basic necessity every community should have,” says Seth Gravesen, treasurer and board member of the Kids Academy Daycare Center. “Without easy access to daycare, it creates challenges for the everyday working parents within our community.”

When all three of Berthold’s daycare centers closed in 2012, local working parents were left in a difficult bind. The nearest daycare center was 30 miles away, and with the high price of most childcare options, many parents could not afford the hours of work time lost on the road for pickup and drop-off.

To close the gap, concerned citizens, business leaders and parents took action to build a grassroots solution, officially founding the Kids Academy Daycare Center in the process. The Center now provides childcare to approximately 30 local children, ranging in age from infants to 12 years old.

The Kids Academy Daycare Center keeps its community bonded by allowing parents to live and work comfortably in Berthold, knowing their children are safe and cared for during the day.

“We know there are many local families who could not afford to live in our community without this service. It’s an essential service and we’re proud to help fill that gap while also helping those children learn and grow,” says Gravesen.

The Kids Academy Daycare Center doesn’t just provide safe supervision. The center also prioritizes enrichment and education, offering interactive opportunities for children to learn, including gardening lessons in the center’s outdoor gardens, where the children can learn to plant, tend to their seedlings and observe how they grow.

The Kids Academy Daycare Center now has support from the Cenex® brand, as the most recent winner of the $25,000 CENEX HOMETOWN PRIDE GRANT. The Hometown Pride grant initiative was founded by Cenex, the energy brand of CHS, to support and strengthen the philanthropic efforts that keep rural communities connected.

“We are very grateful for the essential resource the Kids Academy has given Berthold for the past 10 years,” says Andy Fjeldahl, general manager of FARMERS UNION OIL COMPANY OF BERTHOLD. “It is a good feeling to be able to contribute to a dire need within our community and to have a partner like Cenex who truly cares about giving back to our local towns.”

“Thanks to this Hometown Pride grant, we’re able to continuously have a significant impact on Berthold’s parents and children alike,” says Gravesen. “With the Kids Academy Daycare Center, we know we are doing our part for the community by setting our children up for future success with excellent education and development.”

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