Army celebrates 20 years of quality daycare in downtown Jacksonville

By: Dan Childs

The Salvation Army Child Development Center in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, recently celebrated 20 years of service to the community. The celebration on May 11 included a special appearance and performance by the students of the center, reflections from Major Bert Tanner, Northeast Florida area commander, and refreshments for guests.

The Jacksonville Advisory Board in 1988 saw a need for high-quality care downtown for preschool age children that was available both to working parents and homeless families. The result was a childcare center for children from a wide array of socioeconomic backgrounds. The center is located on North Ocean Street in a facility that has been used by the Army for many years. The property previously was used by the USO, and when that organization reorganized its operations, the building was vacated and the advisory board determined that a community need could be addressed by establishing a daycare facility there.

The center emphasizes quality childcare, annually receiving a five-star rating from the Learning Coalition of Duval County. For many years, the center was the only five-star-rated childcare center in the downtown area.

Major Tanner has a long association with the center. He was the area commander in Jacksonville when the center opened in 1988. As a Salvation Army officer actively serving in retirement, he is again commanding The Salvation Army’s operations in Northeast Florida.