Regarding the proposed Community Center being discussed for the vacant Frank Kearns School that would welcome residents of area towns:
I am a mom of three boys ages 11, 9 and 7. We live in Hartland, a great rural town, with one school for Pre-school through 8th grade, and then most kids go to Granby Memorial High School or Northwest Regional 7 in Winsted.
One not so great thing about Hartland for me, as a new mom, was there weren’t community activities or spaces for parents of little kids. Most of my children’s early years were spent at spaces and activities in other towns, like the Simsbury Library or play groups at Holcomb Farm in Granby. The Green Tambourine was fun but pricey for three kids. To meet other moms of little kids, I needed to leave Hartland.
What Kearns Community Center is looking to offer would have been a lifeline for me. A place to meet, play, learn a skill such as cooking or a musical instrument, a place where my kids could talk to and learn from our communities’ senior population. A place to catch a performance put on by our communities’ teenagers. An indoor park with Tower Gardens providing food and grow lights during the dark and never-ending winter. A space where a parent could connect with other parents, kids with other kids, seniors with other seniors. Community with community.
We have been presented with a solution. Kearns Community Center could be a saving grace to our splintered and disconnected modern lives. Imagine Grampa teaching how to fix a lawn mower in the makers space, having him join you for lunch with the kids in the cafe, reading a book together in the indoor park, and inviting him to catch a play that weekend put on by the tween theater group your oldest is so proud to be working on the set of.
Imagine as a new mom taking a class learning how to feed picky eaters, or learn infant CPR, or parent/child yoga. And being able to do with neighbors you haven’t met yet, forming and forging connections with other parents who will be part of your tribe. For a mom living in an isolated small town, those first years of my kids’ lives felt lonely and detached. When I sought places and events in other towns, I found my village. How wonderful it would have been if there had been community center where so much human, neighbor connection could have been fostered, all in one spot.
People love to wistfully gaze upon our childhoods, where we “came in when the streetlights came on”, where we were welcomed at any neighbors house for a snack, where we knew our friends’ parents and siblings, and the world felt safer and more welcoming. That world still exists—we just need to come together and work to make that a reality once again. Kearns Community Center is a great place to start.