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May 26, 2016

Good Shepherd Opens Doors For Flooded Preschool

Open Door Preschool’s central campus was forced to temporarily relocate after their building suffered detrimental flood damage on Tuesday, May 17. Without warning, 72 students – infants through preschool age – were left without a suitable learning space.


What unfolded over the next three days is a profound example of love and community at their very best: the schools’ families opened their homes to students, allowing parents to return to work; Open Door’s teachers stepped up to babysit groups of all ages; and the remaining staff worked tirelessly to find a temporary solution to return their students to some form of normalcy.


In a letter to the Open Door Preschool families, Executive Director, Larry Elsner wrote, “This community rallied to ensure that our kids are safe, that they are nurtured and challenged, and that our parents can go to work confident that their children are well cared for.”


True to the foundation on which this preschool was formed, those involved were sustained by a deep appreciation for children, education, and connection – and this energized them through a potentially devastating week.


With gratitude, Good Shepherd on the Hill, a second campus of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, welcomed Open Door Preschool to their campus on Friday, May 20. During the 2014 school year, Good Shepherd on The Hill served as the temporary home for Good Shepherd Episcopal School, equipping the campus with most of what Open Door needed to pick up where they left off.


“I am just so thankful that Good Shepherd on the Hill was available to [Open Door’s] amazing school, and its families and children,” said Jeanie Stark, Head of School at Good Shepherd Episcopal School. “We know all too well what it is like to have a need for something in order to serve our families, and then to find that there are those who are willing to give from their hearts to make it happen.”


Open Door began in 1975 rooted deeply and personally in the belief that all children, those with special needs as well as typically developing children, could learn, grow, and thrive together. That same sentiment, which drives this heart- centered community, is the reason Open Door Preschool is such a unique and beautiful place today. Now, more than 40 years later, Open Door’s three campuses are committed to providing top-notch education through engaged learning and exploration, positive and tailored guidance, and social and emotional development, to more than 200 children.


In less than one week, the students and faculty of Open Door have already brought such a vibrant light and energy to Good Shepherd on the Hill, one that has been greatly missed in the absence of an on-site school. Although only a short stay, Open Door will, most certainly, leave an unmistakable and impactful mark on 1700 Woodland Avenue.