Sara Dixon’s days are filled with assignments and tests as her high school graduation approaches, though a local nonprofit has been helping by caring for her 8-month-old daughter, Scarlett Powell, while Dixon is in school.
ACTS of Love Early Childhood Education Center is affiliated with ACTS Church in Leander. The center provides free child care for teen parents enrolled in Leander and Liberty Hill ISDs so they can continue their education and graduate from high school. Dixon is one of about 25-30 teen parent families that ACTS of Love has helped since opening in October 2015.
“I don’t have to worry about paying someone or if she’s safe,” Dixon said. “It’s a good community.”
The center serves newborn to 2-year-old babies and is open on weekdays during the school year. The nonprofit offers day care, two meals per day, health assessments, vision and health screenings, access to a clothes closet and a toy-sharing program.
ACTS of Love Director Katie Evans said working at the nonprofit child care center has been one of the most difficult endeavors she has ever tackled, though watching the progression of both the children and parents has been rewarding.
“Just to see the babies grow up, to see these women grow up and take care of each other is just incredible,” she said.
Dixon said she heard about ACTS of Love during her junior year at Rouse High School. She now has a winter target date to graduate from New Hope High School and plans to pursue a career in the culinary industry.
ACTS of Love has three staff members and 10 volunteers. Among the volunteers is Grace Hughey, who said she loves to see children at the center break out of their shell and become more outgoing and adventurous.
“You could just see things connecting in their brains—that was fun,” she said.
ACTS of Love has seen nine teen parents graduate from high school since it opened. Evans said the goal is to increase the capacity of services offered in the future, including a space to offer more weekly and monthly parenting classes, and expand community partnerships to allow the center to grow.
“I would love to have a full stockroom of donations where they could just go get whatever they needed,” Evans said. “I would love a space to do an ongoing weekly parenting class, and I would love to take in more parents that need our help and services.”
Pick up meals prepared by Meals On Wheels in Leander and deliver to ACTS of Love
Help with tasks in the classrooms and office, including reading books, playing with children or washing dishes
Greet families as they pick up their children in the afternoon
ACTS of Love Early Childhood Education Center
207 Sonny Drive, Leander
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun. • 512-528-9948