A longtime daycare provider has opened a new facility in an underserved Buffalo neighborhood. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday morning at 377 Kensington Avenue for Mary's Little Lambs.
Mary's Little Lambs will offer services including meals, recreation and educational programs, to children ages six weeks to twelve years old. The facility will open at 6:15 a.m. and remain open until midnight.
Owner Mary Goodwill explained that they consider the needs of second-shift workers as well as nine-to-five people. As an experienced child care provider, serving in the role on military bases where her husband served during his time in the U.S. Marines, she learned about working with children from various backgrounds, at various ages.
And when her husband scouted for a new permanent facility for their business, they found 377 Kensington.
"In our search for a permanent placement for our family business, we researched different areas that had the greatest needs for quality child care, maybe areas that were forgotten about or overlooked by others," Goodwill explained. "When my husband found this property, there was not one child care center within a one-mile radius."
Elected officials were among those welcoming the Goodwills and their business into the neighborhood. New York State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes suggested it would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood and provides an option for families employed by Erie County Medical Center, the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, Burgard High School or other nearby workplaces.
"This is going to provide a lot of opportunities for mothers, to be able to know they'll have their children in a safe, healthy place where they can grow and flourish while their mothers go off to work, while their fathers go off to work," Peoples-Stokes said.
Mayor Byron Brown recalled being a frequent visitor to the address when it was the Kensington Place restaurant, owned by George and Lillian Scott. He praised the Goodwills for finding a new, relevant purpose for the space.
"This was their passion," said Mayor Brown about the Scotts. "They wanted to open a business that would make a difference in this community that would feed the community, give the community a place to come together," Brown said. "Mary's passion, Mary's love for children, breathes new life into this place."