Bilingual childcare center finds temporary home at Mount Olive Church

Listos Preschool and Childcare moves into its new temporary location at Mount Olive Church in...
Listos Preschool and Childcare moves into its new temporary location at Mount Olive Church in NW Rochester after being displaced by a fire.(FREE TO USE)
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 4:54 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Listos Preschool and Childcare was full with laughter, language and learning Monday morning.

After a fire destroyed its space at Peace United Church of Christ on April 18, the Listos family, 43 students plus staff, were essentially homeless for a week and a half.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Listos Executive Director Christina Valdez said.

Nothing could be saved from the flame, but the childcare center was able to easily transition into Mount Olive Church in northwest Rochester.

“It’s just devastating to see it. It’s just not the same space it used to be,” Valdez said. “Now, our classrooms are just covered in black soot.”

Mount Olive Lutheran Church was previously home to Family Circle Learning Center, but it closed on April 22, just a few days after Listos had no where to go. Family Circle Learning Center left equipment for Listos to use. But, being a bilingual center, lost books, songs or memories cannot be replaced.

“Just thinking about having to reset up everything again is kind of overwhelming. It’s years of work. Years of organizing, deciding and perfecting. Getting everything labeled and in its spot. Just to see it all lost, it’s...yeah, not fun,” Valdez said.

To get into Mount Olive space, Valdez has to quickly go through the process of relicensing to re-open, and use new equipment. She was also able to go apply and receive an emergency grant from the Department of Human Services, so now the childcare center has $5,000 to help replace dual-language learning materials.

“It’s worth it. All the work we’ve gone through to get here, and work through this transition,” Valdez said. “It’s worth to see them be successful and still have fun and have those connections.”

Valdez said she plans and hope to return to its home at Peace United Methodist Church once it’s rebuilt. Reconstruction is expected to be complete by Easter next year.

According to Rochester Police Department, there are no updates or suspects related to the arson.

RELATED STORIES: Police seek information in church arson investigation (kttc.com)

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