100 Years: A legacy of serving kids and families

Categories: Blog

It’s a crisp autumn morning. My day starts early, at 6:45 am, and I am scattering pumpkins on the lawn outside our building. Within the hour, kids begin arriving to The Burke Foundation Early Childhood Center at YWCA Princeton.

As always, that first hour is hectic, but from practice, it runs seamlessly. Parents say their goodbyes, secure in the knowledge that their children are being nurtured in a safe, caring environment. They can continue with their day and head to work with one less worry.

After settling in, classes head to the lawn to pick pumpkins. Kids are bundled up, chatting away with their friends. Inevitably, two children want the same pumpkin; it’s a lesson in the importance of compromise and sharing. Eventually, they make their way back inside to decorate—a fun activity that promotes creativity and coordination.

I look at the clock. It’s not even noon yet. We have most of the day still ahead of us, and I know today will be a good day. As I pass classrooms filled with gleeful exclamations and excitement, I think about how grateful I am to be part of this every day. I know what children learn in our program prepares them for the rest of their lives. Today isn’t really about today at all. It’s about all the tomorrows.

I peer into a classroom and see three children happily painting their pumpkins together. One is a foster child, another’s parents are graduate students at the university, and the last is a child who immigrated with their family from war-torn Ukraine. I’m reminded that accessible childcare empowers families. It provides structure and normalcy to their daily lives. Our impact is a community effort, and it contributes to milestones and moments critical to a flourishing future. Together, we create a better tomorrow for us all.

Please consider making a gift today in honor of YWCA Princeton’s 100th birthday.


Nick Cheng,
Assistant Director of Childcare