Above: Kareem Frazier removes Jishu’s name from the window of the Early Learning Center
The Greyston Early Learning Center, begun by Zen Peacemakers Co-founder Sandra Jishu Holmes, closed on March 30, 2018.
The Early Learning center opened in 1991 to provide a daycare for children from low-income families. It was one of the few daycare centers in Southwest Yonkers that accepted the child daycare subsidy Title 20. According to a March 30th report by News 12 Westchester, all families who were interested in finding a new daycare center for their children found a replacement center successfully with help from Greyston.
Greyston Marketing Representative Heather Reynolds shared that the ELC closed due to lack of financial resources. Though it was sad and hard to close the center, Greyston plans to redirect their resources to broader work with children and families. No other facilities or programs at Greyston have closed.
In honor of the ELC’s founder, Sandra Jishu Holmes, and her legacy of giving support and hope to Yonkers families, the closing day was one of celebration. ELC Director Carol Robinson reflected:
“Jishu was very special to the staff and families. When she came to South Yonkers her work began with compassion.
“The most powerful message Jishu left us was things and people discarded can become beautiful if loved, cared for, and given an opportunity. She demonstrated this by collecting discarded scraps of cloth from designers in NYC and, with the women she cared for, made clothing and bags. The children and families at the ELC achieved and became beautiful.
“It was important for [Jishu’s] beneficiaries to leave the space in peace. Jishu’s name was removed with delicacy and respect into a glass bowl and released into the nearby river expressing our gratitude, love, and releasing peace into the world.
“At the end of the ELC the families were stronger, there are messages of hope, fun memories and new beginnings. It was an honor for me to serve at the place where Jishu brought love, compassion and hope. As I move on to serve other families the seed Jishu planted will continue to grow in my heart and practice.”
Present at the closing ceremony, among many others, was Greyston president and CEO Mike Brady, and Zen Peacemakers Paco Lugovina, Noemi Santana, Peter Cunningham and Deborah Stewart. Paco, Noemi and Peter had studied and collaborated with Jishu in the early days of Greyston.