• 39°

Rock Hill students raise funds for ‘Big Red’

Sounds of little feet pitter-pattering down the hall will no longer be heard during neighborhood walks around the playground at Rock Hill Early Childhood Development Center. Instead, it will be the sound of “Big Red” making its way through the facility, and perhaps a few giggles from the toddlers aboard. “Big Red,” as the ECDC toddlers have dubbed it, is the six-passenger, heavy-duty stroller the center recently purchased for daily strolls around the center. And it’s an addition happily welcomed because the children no longer have to hold onto a rope to take a walk, said Early Childhood Education Instructor Janie Knipp,

The center already owns a four-passenger buggy that is used primarily for infants, Knipp said, and is not suitable for babies over a certain weight.

The new stroller, however, is designed specifically to accommodate toddlers.

But Big Red is a luxury that ECDC was unable to earmark in its budget.

“This new buggy was over $1,000, and it was so expensive,” said Mary Kade, site administrator for Rock Hill Child Development Center Head Start.

“It wasn’t anything we wanted to take out of our budget; we have more pressing needs. But everyone wanted one.”

In stepped Knipp and her Early Childhood Teaching and Care class, a for-credit course co-offered by Rock Hill High School and Collins Career Center.

At the beginning of 2008, the class full of girls, dotted here and there with a boy, had been brainstorming special causes for which to potentially provide assistance.

When they discovered ECDC’s need for toddler transportation, they immediately began thinking of ways to raise a thousand bucks.

The kick-off fundraiser was sweet — literally. Knipp’s students sold candy-grams for a quarter each to classmates who could have their Valentine’s Day gifts hand-delivered to the sweetheart of their choice.

Knipp and her students sponsored several additional fundraisers throughout 2008, including a Christmas basket for which they sold chances to win.

By the end of the year they had raised $1,000 – just enough for the stroller. And although the teeny toddlers aren’t quite old enough to understand the significance behind their little buggy, they are excited to have a ride from the classroom to the playground to the gym and back, again.