Community Children’s Center: If only they came with a manual (Column)

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Note: The Lawrence Times is offering some space for area organizations and organizers to express their views, provide updates and attempt to reach other folks who might share their mission. This post is contributed content (i.e., not produced by the Times staff) and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Times staff. See more in our Community Voices section, or see how to submit your own piece.

The longest drive of my life was the 30-minute drive with my wife and newborn son home from the hospital in Topeka. I had a head full of fear, followed shortly by a whole bunch of questions. They give you some basic instruction at the hospital, but after that, you’re on your own. It was exhilarating and terrifying. So much new parenting is trial and error, and it can be incredibly stressful without resources.

About two years ago, Community Children’s Center Executive Director Kim Polson approached me with a request. The CCC was putting together some online resources for parents in Douglas County, and they needed a focus group of local parents to help guide the project. I gladly accepted, and we spent several sessions discussing what we would like in an online resource. With that guidance, TYKES Douglas County Online Resource was born about a year later.

TYKES Douglas County (Tiny Kansans Early Supports) is more than just a resource listing site. It has a series of educational articles, local events, and community resources that is continuously updated to ensure that information is current and accessible. You can quickly filter reports by age group and topic to find help. 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive listing of local events, TYKES Douglas County can provide that. The site automatically draws from the Lawrence Kids calendar and CCC programming to provide help specifically aimed at community activities for young children.

If you require resources, the local resources page focuses on each of our partner programs and many other nonprofits and community organizations that help provide education, material support, and resources for new parents. 

The Community Children’s Center is a program with a rich history in Lawrence doing bold new work. Established in 1965, the Center ran the local Head Start program for years in partnership with several other local child care programs. The high quality of this programming earned a visit from President Barack Obama in 2015. In 2019, the Community Children’s Center refocused to help provide education, programming and resources for families in Douglas County, emphasizing early childhood care for newborns to 5-year-olds.

We move forward with this commitment to care by developing an Early Childhood Community Center that focuses on infants through toddlers, aiming to help bridge gaps in available child care slots. For more information on this Center, check out

In addition to providing this resource and developing the Early Childhood Community Center, we want to focus on education. As such, with the help of the Lawrence Times, we’re providing a monthly column from the staff here at CCC devoted to education about parenting and early childhood development. We look forward to this regular series, giving you information on resources, events and information on early childhood care in Douglas County.

If you have questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, please email me at

— Will Averill (he/him) was born and raised in Lawrence with a brief stint in Norwich, U.K. Will is the director of communications and development at Community Children’s Center.  Will is the father of a hilarious 7-year-old who is going on 65.

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