Debbie Imperia spends the time she has with the pre-schoolers who come to the Harrison Children Center the same way she did her own five children as a stay-at-home mom.
That’s why they play outside in the snow during the winter, visit the local parks and library and get a lot of attention from teachers, said the Harrison resident.
“We want to expose the children to everything their parents would,” said the executive director of the Harrison Children Center, an organization providing affordable and high quality programming for pre-school and school-aged children.
"If we can offer them a warm and nurturing environment they feel comfortable in, we have done our job.”
Imperia has worked at the Harrison Children Center for the past seven years. She got the job right after she finished her ninth year on the Harrison Central School District Board of Education, which she said allowed her to keep working with local children. Plus, it was a perfect fit for her love of little ones — she enjoys watching them develop from a young age.
“They’re adorable and funny and say what’s on their minds,” she said. “They grow so fast.”
It’s clear that the staff at Harrison Children Center takes its commitment to its families seriously. Teachers have been known to babysit on an occasional Saturday night if parents need to go out, for example, and the board of the organization even provided a Christmas tree and dinner for a family who was struggling during this past holiday season.
“Harrison Children Center is a ‘feel-good organization,’” Imperia said.
New Rochelle, Somers, Mamaroneck and Rye are just a few of the towns the Harrison Children Center draws families from.