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November 21, 2019 | 3:22pm
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Ribbon cutting ceremony held at Ferndale early learning center (video)

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FERNDALE, Wash. — Cars lined Ferndale Terrace as a large crowd gathered yesterday afternoon, October 11th, for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Whatcom Center for Early Learning (WCEL) Ferndale location located at 2185 Ferndale Terrace.

Whatcom Center for Early Learning ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Ferndale location (October 11, 2019). Video: My Ferndale News

The gathering marked the official opening of the new location, which WCEL officials refer to as the “Little Brick House.”

WCEL has been serving families of infants and toddlers with delays and disabilities for 46 years out of their 2,500-square-foot “Big Blue House” location in the Lettered Streets neighborhood in Bellingham. The “Little Brick House” in Ferndale was purchased to expand WCEL’s abilities to serve families in Whatcom County.

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WCEL officials say that since 2013, the agency has grown more than 250% and is currently serving 225 children and their families per month.

The Ferndale location includes a 3,200-square-foot office building for programming and administration and a separate 1,500-square-foot Children’s Center which hosted its first toddler classes this week. When the backyard park, specifically designed to accommodate infants and toddlers with delays and disabilities, is complete then WCEL’s “Little Brick House” will be the largest early intervention center of its kind in the region according to WCEL officials.

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Whatcom Center for Early Learning Ferndale location exterior (October 11, 2019). Photo: My Ferndale News

WCEL received grants for the capital campaign from Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery ($25,500) and the Chuckanut Health Foundation ($25,000) and the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust ($200,000). Additional donations were received from the First Federal Community Foundation ($50,000), Norcliffe Foundation ($30,000), Whatcom Community Foundation ($10,000), Jordan Fund, Glaser Foundation, Jansen Foundation and Moccasin Lake Foundation ($5,000 each) as well as Superfeet ($2,000). Community members also hosted private fundraisers in their homes to support the campaign and multiple local volunteer groups have donated labor, including Keller Williams, WECU, Seeking Health and First Congregational Church of Bellingham. About 98% of the projected costs have already been raised out of the about $1 million total cost of the project according to WCEL officials.

Started by Public Health Nurse Anne Brown in the late 1960s, WCEL provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers from birth to 3-years-old with developmental delays and disabilities.


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