Sable Kelso helps tots play and learn on the activity board she created to help local children. (Photo courtesy of Treasure Valley Relief Nursery)
ONTARIO – As the children attending the Treasure Valley Relief Nursery head outside to grab some sun, many run to the balance beam on the playground. If cold and windy, the little ones stay inside with many using a new activity board.
Both the beam and the board are the work of Vale High School senior Sable Kelso.
After learning about the nursery from a family member, Kelso started visiting the nursery with two friends last summer. Those visits turned into volunteering the whole summer at a place where lower income families find quality daycare. A non-profit, Treasure Valley Relief Nursery provides classrooms for children 18 months to 6 years, meals and transportation, parent education and early intervention professionals providing speech, behavioral, physical and pediatric therapy. The nursery served 87 children last year.
“For about six weeks, I would go in and play with the kids on Fridays,” Kelso said.
When the time came for her senior project for graduation, Kelso chose to help those she knew well.
“There are a lot of kids there that don’t communicate yet and some have learning disabilities,” she said. “Sometimes, they just want to sit on your lap and cuddle.”
Kelso said she loved her time at the nursery and promoted the idea of a balance beam and activity board. With the help of her father, Scott Kelso, she found a suitable log, shaving it down and providing a base for the beam. In January, the installation took place on the playground.
She built an activity board geared towards developing motor skills.
“My main goal was to help with early childhood development and building fine motor skills,” she said. “I wanted activities that 2- to 6-year-olds would like — blocks, latches, shoe ties, knobs, a calculator, zippers, magnetic letters and numbers, and buttons.”
She’s not done with the nursery, though.
“I plan on going back in the summer and volunteering again,” she said.
She plans to continue on to college to pursue nursing.
Kelso said the need is great at the nursery.
“They really need any help they can get with the kids,” she said.
The nursery is currently asking for children’s birthday cards, activity items like shaving cream, stickers, Play-Doh, music CDs, small dry erase boards and new or gently used books for toddlers.
The nursery also needs laundry detergent, bleach, shampoo and hand sanitizer.
The nursery is also taking registrations for the Relief Run Color Blast coming up April 21 at Beck-Kiwanis Park.
For more information on how to help or sign up for the run, call 541-823-2526.