In 1918, a community organization, the Sharon Rotary Club, created a project entitled “Expenses for Treatment of Crippled Children”. In 1937, the community expanded the project into the Mercer County Crippled Children’s Society which became the main civic project. From 1954-1958, a community of laborers, sheet metal workers, carpenters, contractors and local unions volunteered to build the building that we are in today. The new building provided classroom spaces, a therapeutic swimming pool, a small playground area, and office and counseling spaces to meet the physical and mental needs of the children who, at the time, were not included in the general education classrooms.
As our education system and government began to become more inclusive of these students and their needs, the center remained a stable support for families by incorporating an early intervention program. The organization was then renamed the Mercer County Education and Rehabilitation Center. By 2000, the center was renamed the Children’s Center of Mercer County with the mission of providing optimal educational developmental and social opportunities for all children to reach their full potential, regardless of their challenges. While the special education programs and the funding were funneled into the school districts and intermediate Units, childcare and pre-Kindergarten programs were added to provide early childhood and early intervention supports.
At present day, we have evolved into a different form but our heart and mission are still the same: to educate and support every child within our community. We are composed of Pre-Kindergarten and Pre-K Counts classrooms, an academic preschool for 3 year olds, childcare for children 6 weeks old until 2 years old, and before and after care for preschool to school aged children. We also house the Hermitage School District’s Head Start and Pre-K Counts classrooms. We provide quality early childhood for ALL students within our community.
“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” — John F. Kennedy