In 1981, a group of Fort Hays State University education majors created an organization to raise awareness of children and to enhance their education. They called themselves Kappa Iota Delta Sigma, K.I.D.S. for short, and shortly afterward, they decided to help out students who were also parents.
This year, the Tiger Tots Nurtury Center and K.I.D.S will celebrate their 25th anniversaries during FHSU's Homecoming. They will have a float in the Homecoming parade, and the center will hold an open house from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Rarick Hall room 109, for all former K.I.D.S.
Those first K.I.D.S and the faculty in the College of Education and Technology saw a number of students who, because of conflicts, were forced to bring their children to class or miss class altogether, suggesting a growing need on the campus for reasonably priced, convenient child care. The solution was to combine child care and a hands-on learning experience.
K.I.D.S members made 50 hand-made sock puppets, known as the Sockettes, and sold them, adding the proceeds to $4,500 allocated by the Student Senate and $5,000 donated by the Education Department. On Aug. 25, 1981, the center opened under the name Pooh Corners, but a copyright claim from Walt Disney forced a name change to Tiger Tots Nurtury Center.
The center has stayed true to its goals, taking a learning center approach to promote the social, physical, intellectual and emotional growth of each child. The center provides child care to FHSU faculty and students with children ages 30 months to six years while also providing opportunities for college students to gain hands-on experience. The center is funded by FHSU but also accepts donations.
"The 25th anniversary of Tiger Tots is an amazing story of student involvement encouraged by the university's strong visionary leadership," said Denise Link Barbour, an original K.I.D.S. member.
For more information on the center, contact Natalie Unruh, director of Tiger Tots Nurtury Center, at (785) 628-4101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.