Friends of Ida Barbour…Building Better Tomorrows for More Children
Ida Barbour will build an inviting new Center which will double the number of children we serve, be an asset to its neighboring community, and educate our region’s most at-risk children.
Ida Barbour has struggled on a shoestring for over 100 years, yet our staff know how to keep children not only safe and parents engaged in improved parenting skills, but also how to prepare every child for success when they are ready to start kindergarten. It takes a lot of resources to do that. The Board of Directors also realizes that the current building continues to age and limits the number of underserved children which Ida Barbour serve.
Currently, the facility is located at 1400 Camden Avenue in Portsmouth in the remaining structure of the Robert E. Lee school which did burned to the ground several years ago. It includes a small office, a multipurpose room with open space and divided sections for different age groups, an infant room, a kitchen, restrooms and a small storage area. It is licensed for 60 children currently which are primarily from social services approved applicants. A small percentage of children of a working parent are charged a minimal fee based on ability to pay.
Our after-school and summer program is also important for the school-aged children in our community. It is extremely important to keep 6 and 7-year-olds involved in safe, worthwhile activities throughout the summer. The more children we can keep involved in quality care and special activities such as field trips which they would not experience otherwise, the more likely our community can support a better chance in these children’s future and financial stability for these families.
Ida Barbour must continue to provide services to these children who are underserved in our region. We must also expand to take not only these children but the low-income working population represented by employees working in our region for employers such as Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
Help Make Our Dream the Community’s Reality!
We have received the property of our current Ida Barbour Early Learning Center from the City of Portsmouth, including the entire plot on Camden Street. Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing has submitted to the Commonwealth of Virginia for approval of tax incentives to help build the new Ida Barbour Early Learning Center. With these commitments, the Board of Directors selected and hired HBA Architects, known as school design specialists, to develop architectural renderings for the site. We are hoping to have funding capital and a building loan for the balance to begin construction in three years for our expansion, ideally this design.
The goal is to expand to take serve 120 children, both drawing attendance from social services clients and on a sliding scale the children or working parents throughout the region, but especially those working for employers in a near proximity to the Center, which is where most parents want to enroll their children.
Check out our Dream! We also invite you to see how corporations and organizations can become Friends of Ida Barbour. It takes a whole village to raise children with the hope of a better future!
Our Vision Statement: Historic Ida Barbour Early Learning Center is a welcoming, safe, healthy and stimulating environment that facilitates the education, personal and physical development of children and their families.