Building Brighter Futures at R7 Learning Center

Fifteen years ago, Shannon Reicheneker volunteered at her son’s day care. That act of service opened her eyes to her real passion – working with kids.

“It’s so rewarding to see the kids when they finally get what you are trying to teach them,” she said. “They are just like little sponges. I think they teach me more than I teach them.”

She continued following that passion and earned bachelor’s degrees in early childhood administration and health and human services and eventually became a full-time child care center teacher and then manager.

In February, Shannon was thrilled to have a new opportunity with kids in the Holdrege area as she was hired as the Child Care Director at the YMCA’s new Early Learning Center at R7.

“I have always wanted to be part of a center as it was being built from the ground up,” Shannon said. Since the Y’s facility just opened in September 2016, she is starting near the beginning and has grand visions for the day care’s future.

“It has been so eye-opening,” Shannon said of her first few weeks on the job. “I had heard about the Y for years, but I didn’t know the ‘why’ part. It’s about serving the community and giving the community what it needs.”

Currently, 49 kids are enrolled at the center, but it is licensed for 100, giving it plenty of room to grow.
“It’s really a great center at this point, but I think it can be a phenomenal center,” she said.

Some of her upcoming goals for the center include adding a second infant room so that younger infants (ages 6 weeks to 9 months) can be separated from the more active infants (9 months to 18 months). She also is planning to add a five-day-a-week PreK class to better prepare kids for kindergarten.

Shannon, who is originally from Litchfield, worked as the Child Care Manager at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney for four years before accepting the job at the Y. Her experience prior to that was at KinderCare centers and a church day care in Colorado.

She lives in Kearney with her three sons, Conor, 16; Colin, 14; and Colton, 12. She plans to marry her fiancé, Sid, in the next few months and will then welcome his two children to their family as well, Maddy, 14; and Spencer, 8. 

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