Inclusive Childcare Program In Tulsa Helps Serve Kids With Special Needs

Sondia Bell, the director of Jacob's Bridge to Learning, named the program after her own son who was autism. She joins us to share more about their mission and how you can help.

Thursday, March 28th 2024, 10:06 am

By: News On 6


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An inclusive, educational childcare program in North Tulsa is serving children with special needs. The director of Jacob's Bridge to Learning, Sondia Bell, named the afterschool program after her own son who was autism.

They are currently outgrowing their current location. Sondia was able to purchase a building and it is perfect for their organization. However, they were told last week that they cannot move in until they put in a new sprinkler system, which costs $150,000.

Sondia joins us on the Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages Porch to share more about their mission and how you can help.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Jacob's Bridge to Learning.

What does this program offer?

"We are a foundation that starts Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm. We offer the program to anyone that's looking and seeking childcare from the ages of six weeks, all the way up to 15 years of age. We've mainly catered towards exceptional needs children, but the whole goal is to have inclusion. So we welcome all children. So we can all balance and help each other out," Bell said.

Jacob's Bridge to Learning

What kind of growth have you seen in the kids and families?

"It is so welcoming. And just seeing the faces of parents being able to have services where they're able to work every day. You know, parents with exceptional needs children are faced with so many challenges, especially with autism. They (don't) come with a manual. So it's different rollercoasters with the health care, with support, with childcare, especially if they're nonverbal, like Jacob. Just being able to have somewhere where they are able to let you work a nine to five. And even the policies, FMLA, you know, all the different organizations that are offered here, they're not catered toward parents with children with exceptional needs," Bell said.

Jacob's Bridge to Learning

What kind of hurdles are you facing to open a new facility?

"It's so rewarding that I was blessed and able to buy a building last year in December with the help of WeStreet Credit Union. It's just now that we have some city codes with a sprinkler system," Bell continued. "I've been getting quotes of $150,000 on top of me just recently purchasing the building. So I'm a strong believer. God will make a way out of no way. But it's just hard knowing the fact that it's more delays when there are so many parents out there. I have a waiting list that parents call me every day looking for services and childcare for their children so they can work every day."

Jacob's Bridge to Learning

What's your hope for the future?

"The ultimate goal is to have inclusion, statewide, national wide. Just build an awareness of everyone to understand that they're humans. They're children. They're special. They just want to be loved and accepted. So just bringing awareness in the school system around where they understand that they need to be amongst us. They need to be around us. They need friends. They don't need to be segregated in a different organization as if they're not human. So my goal is to make us all one," Bell said.

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