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Bon Secours’ First On-Site Child Care Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary

St. Mary’s Hospital Family Center holds open house event to commemorate special occasion

Jan. 24, 2014 – Bon Secours’ first family center, providing on-site child care services for employees, opened a quarter century ago. The St. Mary’s Hospital Family Center opened on Jan. 2, 1989, marking an important milestone in the health system’s approach to providing family friendly benefits.

“Our workforce couldn’t survive without the programs we have in place,” said Francine Barr, chief nursing officer and vice president of nursing, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. “The majority of our nurses are women, many are in their childbearing years and many are the key breadwinners of their families. Without child care, it would be much more difficult for them.”

To celebrate the significant contributions of the St. Mary’s Family Center over the past 25 years, there will be an anniversary party on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 3 – 5 p.m. Current families, alumni, teachers and former teachers are invited to reminisce, reconnect and share in their memories. Children are welcome to participate in the celebration and may participate in arts and crafts and cookie decorating activities.

Samara Musselman, administrative director over all the Bon Secours Family Centers, began working at the St. Mary’s center in 1991. “Children who we cared for as babies volunteer with us today,” said Musselman. “Bon Secours staff members who came to the center as children now leave their own children in our care. The bond we all share with the St. Mary’s Family Center is truly amazing.”

The St. Mary’s center was originally opened in response to an employee survey in the 1980s in which employees expressed a desire for convenient child care. Today, Bon Secours offers three on-site centers in the Richmond area for 575 children and grandchildren of employees. The centers are open for extended hours during the week and on Saturdays to accommodate the various employee schedules required to run hospitals that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to caring for children who regularly attend, the centers are open for drop-in care to address holidays, summer vacation or emergencies.

Donna Shifflett, director, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Family Center, helped open the center in 1989. “We all have such wonderful memories of the children who have grown up,” said Shifflett. “I bump into our former students around town all the time and many of them still have some connection to Bon Secours.”

St. Mary’s Family Center is open to children from six weeks to 12 years old and offers summer camps, school holiday care and other site-specific, school-age services for K-5. Bon Secours Memorial Regional Family Center opened in 2002 and St. Francis Family Center opened in 2007.

Bon Secours Virginia and its employee work-life balance programs and policies have been recognized by a number of leading publications and workplace surveys, including Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” since 1998, the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility since 2006, and Modern Healthcare’s “100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare.”

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