35 years ago, today, Cook’s opened our doors for the first time in what was Cook’s Public School just north of Cobourg on Danforth Road.  Cook’s officially received corporation status on August 29, 1985.

I am privileged to share in the celebration of this milestone.  I remember being there on day one with co-founders, Kim Rudd and Judi Quigley, as we welcomed the first families through our doors.  Just over 35 years ago, I was a new Early Childhood Education graduate and a newlywed wondering where my future would lead me.  As fate would have it, my husband spotted an ad in the local Cobourg Daily Star for a new day care looking for educators.  I was new to Cobourg and was quickly welcomed into the Cook’s family and the community by Kim, Judi, and their families.  It felt like home. While both Kim and Judi moved on to new adventures a number of years ago, their hearts and souls remain with Cook’s.

Cook’s has come through a lot over the years.  It has taken strength, hard work, determination, and a lot of love to help Cook’s thrive, grow, and live on.  Cook’s has had different centre locations; expanded to include the home child care option; expanded to two centres for a number of years; and amalgamated back to one for the financial health of the organization.  All in the blink of an eye.

Cook’s people are its foundation.  Cook’s exists because, at its core, there are dedicated professionals and supporters.  Though together we have shared and supported each other through tough and sometimes sad times, we agree the rewards far outweigh the challenges that have come our way.  Our Cook’s team steps up to pitch in together because we are proud to be a part of Cook’s and a part of each others’ lives.  We are a family.

And just when I think I’ve seen and heard it all throughout our many years, it seems some little surprise always pops up to test us.  2020, as we all know, has been one for the records that we could never have imagined.  As always, our team has risen to the challenge to protect what we have established – together.

Lots of families have passed through our doors over the years. Some of the children became staff and their children attended.  Many children became parents and bring their kids or even grandkids now.  Some current staff bring their children now.  Many parents tell their friends to reach out to us.  That says a lot about the trust built and is appreciated! The lasting connections and relationships made are cherished.

I also credit our lasting presence in our Northumberland community because we began with a commitment on day one with a goal to provide the best quality programming we could provide and respond to changing needs.  That commitment continues today and will continue every day into our future.  Cook’s will do nothing less than our best, every day.

I need to recognize my devoted, enthusiastic, and supportive team.  The year each joined Cook’s follows their name.  These folks are the greatest!

Centre:
Alannah (2017); Blair (2020); Brenda (2000); Charlene (2018); Courtney (2015); Emily (2019); Hannah (2015); Heather (1991); Heidi (2019); Kelly (2019); Lisa (2002); Melissa R (2011); Melissa L (2017); Penny (1990); Renée (2014); Richelle (2016 as a student; 2019 full-time); Rose (2017); Shannon (1987);  Sharon (1989)

Home Child Care Providers:
Diane (2003); Maria (2016); Priscilla (2011)

Board of Directors:
Alison (2016); Ann (2018); Elise (2018); Kayley (2017); Lori (2015); Sarah (2018); Suzanne (2017); Ziyad (2017)

Lastly, there are many community advocates and service providers who deserve mention for the assistance given to Cook’s over the years.  The County of Northumberland has been instrumental in helping Cook’s thrive over the years with much appreciated advisory and funding support.  At the risk of missing identifying even one of the other important people, companies, or organizations, I offer a group declaration of my appreciation.  It not only takes a community to raise a child, it also takes a community to stand behind a quality early learning and child care program dedicated to serving the community to the best of its ability.

Best regards always,

Lynn Stubbings, RECE. AECEO.C
Executive Director