Crystal Day Care " a model business
Before moving from Basalt to Redstone in December 2007, I contacted Kids First Aspen inquiring about childcare in my new area. They immediately referred me to Crystal Day Care (CDC), a home-based program with a 4/4 Qualistar (a state-run accreditation initiative) rating. Since then, CDC has become a second family for my now 21-month-old daughter and a significant connection to the greater community for my husband and me.
Crystal Day Care, owned and operated by Sabrina Ferguson, is a model not only as an enriched and creative learning environment for infants and toddlers (the binder filled with my daughter’s CDC art projects is already overflowing!), but also as an environmentally responsible and sustainable local business. Through regional grants, rebates and a federal tax credit, Sabrina and her architect husband, Daniel Ferguson, have received funding to increase the energy efficiency of their home and the care center housed there. Kids First and the city of Aspen, CORE, Holy Cross and the Ferguson family assisted with financing CDC’s recent photovoltaic improvement, which will eliminate, according to InPower of Carbondale, 333,504 pounds of carbon emissions over the lifetime of the system; 576,000 pounds of coal it would take to provide equivalent energy; and 185 trees needed to absorb the carbon the system will offset. With a base internal rate of return of 17.63 percent and a simple payback of 16 years, this affordable 3,600-watt advanced solar energy system will begin generating income in 11 years. The Canary Initiative was the only program to reject CDC’s proposal.
An urban-born wandering spirit, I suppose I have always been searching for an authentic community in which to raise a family. Without having delineated a clear or certain path, I realize that I am finally settling into one. Although CDC is an intimate program located in a little town that cares for a handful of children, it can ” and will ” make a significant impact on how the Roaring Fork and Crystal valleys (and beyond) think about minding for our own and our neighbors’ children, and their lifelong wellness.
When I drop off and pick up my daughter from CDC, I am also visiting good friends, discovering ways to build a more meaningful life and, most notably, seeing my baby transform into a little girl in the company of enlightened people. I know that when it is time for her to move on to preschool, we will not be moving on from CDC or the Fergusons. We have planted roots with them and, in so doing, have planted roots in our community and in its conscious future. No organization is too small to invest in, or to be invested in, a better world.
Nicole B. Strait
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