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Warmest Greetings to the St. David’s Center Community,

I am writing you today with a heart full of gratitude. Last night, at our 35th Annual Make Them Shine Gala, I was humbled to celebrate our work with those who truly understand our mission and the spirit of St. David’s Center. The result is absolutely inspiring – we raised more than $775,000.

This year, St. David’s Center’s brilliant team of over 500 served nearly 5,000 children and families at our two centers, in 30 partner locations, and in hundreds of family homes. The difficult data to share is our waitlist: nearly 2,000 children are waiting for services – children’s mental health, autism treatment, pediatric therapies, inclusive early childhood education, and other support services. Parents are calling our central intake team, desperate for help.

We are out of space at our campus in Minnetonka, and we are out of space at the Harman Center in Westminster Presbyterian Church. The need just continues to grow.

Knowing this need, we set ourselves on a path to grow too. We listened to our staff and our families. We talked to county and state leaders. We read reports and studied the data. We met with legislators. And, as we have since our inception in 1961, we imagined a future where we would reach double or even triple the families we serve today.

I’m honored and proud to share our plan to expand our reach and to meet the needs of more children and families in coming years. We are embarking on two paths: growth in Greater Minnesota and growth in the Twin Cities.

In partnership with a large employer in St. Cloud, we will open a new early education and intervention center there to address the current childcare crisis and escalating developmental and behavioral health needs in Central Minnesota, by early 2025. We’re grateful for the partnership of local leaders, the Stearns County Board and Human Services leadership, and many stakeholders from the community who have come to believe deeply in the impact St. David’s Center could have in the lives of children and families in the St. Cloud community.

Our other big announcement is our growth in the Twin Cities.

As one potential way to address growing community needs, St. David’s Center reached out to the YWCA to connect our programs at the Harman Center with their ECE programs – to ensure children and families in Downtown Minneapolis have access to high quality childcare, early intervention, and treatment. During that exploration, we learned the YWCA intended to sell their downtown location, which put us on the path to this moment.

On February 9, I signed a purchase agreement to acquire the YWCA downtown on the corner of 12th and Nicollet. We will optimize the 124,000-square-foot building as a solution to the needs of parents, pediatricians, educators, county social workers, and the community as a whole.

At capacity, providing services at and out of what will be a state-of-the-art early education, early intervention, and support services center, St. David’s Center will reach an additional 1,500 to 2,000 families annually. We will continue to forge a unique partnership with the YWCA ECE. They will maintain that program in the building, as we fill the rest of the vibrant space with OT gyms, therapy rooms, day treatment services, therapeutic recreation spaces, and more. Our Minnetonka campus and the Harman Center for Child & Family Wellbeing in Westminster Presbyterian Church will continue to reach as many children and families as possible.

You’re some of the first people to hear this bold plan! Stay tuned to hear more about it in the days, weeks, and months to come, spread the word, and find ways to make a difference in the world by engaging with St. David’s Center! Getting involved in our organization at this critical moment for children and families will offer you the opportunity to make a meaningful, dare I say, transformational difference for children and families for generations to come!

With gratitude,

Julie Sjordal

CEO, St. David’s Center

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