The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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January 11, 2013

New day care for babies of teen moms opens at Lincoln Community Center

MANKATO — The lunch bell tolled at 11:28 a.m., and senior Brittany Marcucci made her way down the stairs of Central High School.

She wasn’t headed to a cafeteria, but rather to a little room on the lower level of the Lincoln Community Center that for years had been a boys locker room and was turned into storage in recent years. But now, as she opened the door to room 110, instead of a dark closet space, Marcucci sees bright blue walls and murals, which she helped paint.

She sees new rugs, donated by Home Depot, and lots of toys. She also sees her baby girl, Anabelle Weber, 6 months old and pleased as punch to see her mommy after a few hours with new friend Gretchen Rialson.

Marcucci started putting Anabelle in Rialson’s care on Monday, when the Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program infant day care opened its doors. At no cost to her or any other teen parent enrolled in TAPP (elective classes), she receives day care during the whole school day with the added bonus of being just steps away if Anabelle needs her.

“Now I can finish school and graduate so I can make a good living for her,” Marcucci said.

More than 20 years ago a day care opened at the then-called Alternative High School and was run by Jean Jackson, family and consumer science teacher. About seven years ago, leadership of the day care was turned over to Adult Basic Education, which runs Lincoln Logs Learning Center day care for children of refugees, immigrants and GED students.

But the pre-school portion of Lincoln Logs has been growing significantly and space was limited, so last year Adult Basic Education made the difficult decision to turn the infant-care room into an additional preschool space, said Sarah Karau-Dauk, family and consumer science/TAPP teacher.

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