The concept for the Mount Horeb Community Education Center, or MHCEC, initially came about by way of parent responses to decisions that were being made around how to implement school for Mount Horeb Area School District (MHASD) students. The COVID-19 pandemic was significantly impacting the course of the 2020-2021 school year. Parents were expressing concern about being able to adequately support their students in the virtual learning environment. Working parents were worried about what they were going to do about leaving their children to go to work. Yet others lamented the loss of the social and physical benefits that their children would be lacking without in person school.
A local resident with some experience with community centers and youth programming had an idea. The idea was discussed between four local citizens to begin with – an MHASD administrator, a business owner, an MHASD school teacher and the resident. A plan was formed to pursue the idea of supporting working families of student youth during the upcoming school year. Together they developed the Family Survey for Student Out of School Time to formally collect an assessment of needs and start planning a response.
The Family Survey sent out in early July 2020. Approximately 450 families completed the survey, representing just under 800 students. Five areas of need were identified after analyzing the survey results:
- Virtual Learning Support
- Social Emotional Connection
- Physical Activity and Wellness
- Mental Health Supports
- Nutrition Insecurity
The survey also yielded a generous list of parents interested in serving the community by participating as Board Members for the newly forming non-profit.
Kimberly Anderson, Board President
Ed Jones, Vice President
Christine Kuzdas, Chairperson
Jack Medford, Treasurer
Jon Bauer, Member at Large
Jason Anderson, Member at Large
Expediting the formation of the organization, an existing local 501(c)3 charter that was not currently in use but remained active, was renamed and repurposed so that the Mount Horeb Community Education Center (MHCEC) could be officially established on July 27, 2020. Since that time, students, families and community members have benefitted from services including:
Internet Cafe with free internet service donated by Mount Horeb Telephone Company (MHTC)
Tutoring and Academic Assistance provided by local volunteer adults and high school students
Programs that support the positive mental health of youth, families and community in Mount Horeb
Free Family Open Swims provided through a donation from Grand Stay Inn & Suites of Mount Horeb
Voter Assistance with rides to polls and absentee ballot drop off provided by local volunteers
Mask Up MoHo initiative with free cloth facemasks donated by perimeterfacemasks.com and MHCEC
Neighborhood Work Day encouraging youth and adults of all ages to help neighbors get ready for winter