Nicole and Aidan’s Story


Dear Friend,

You may not know me, but you have made a difference in my life.

When my son Aidan was younger, I was a single mom. We were barely making it, and I had to rely on food stamps and Medicaid to help meet my son’s basic needs.

Working was a constant struggle because the cost of childcare nearly equaled my wages, and the places we were able to afford weren’t consistent or high quality. We tried out a few different daycares.

One place charged me as much as I made and had the TV on all day. At another facility, the owners drove matching gold Mercedes and there was a lot of staff turnover. One day I showed up and no one was there–apparently not enough kids were scheduled that day so they didn’t think it was worth it to open, and I had to call off my shift.

I was so fortunate to finally find Cornerstone. They had a sliding tuition scale and there were many times I paid absolutely nothing. They provided healthy meals and snacks as well as diapers and wipes, and the caring staff made sure no families went without warm coats or food. The care Aidan received was of the highest quality. Some of the teachers he had 15 years ago are still there, and some have now been there 30+ years.

Cornerstone allowed us to get ahead–I was able to use the money I earned at work to pay bills instead of just paying to go to work. I was able to go to school. I was able to get off food stamps and provide for my son. It means so much to me to be in a position now that I can help other families do the same.

Today, I am a labor and delivery nurse. Aidan is 18 and a senior in high school with plans to attend Mizzou next year. I started dating my now-husband 6 years ago and he adopted my son last year. We also have a beautiful baby girl.

Cornerstone remains near and dear to my heart. It’s really important to my family to do what we can to make sure others have the same opportunities we did. Sharing our story is one way we hope to help. I also recently signed up as a monthly donor because I know that these past two years have been harder than most for Cornerstone Center. Like many organizations, staying well-staffed has been an unrelenting challenge.

The best way for Cornerstone to maintain the high quality of education they’re known for is to retain their highly skilled, passionate educators. However, Cornerstone’s mission to serve families of all economic backgrounds means keeping tuition affordable, and the widely reported nationwide teacher shortages mean that Cornerstone is competing with school districts, private nanny positions, and other centers for caring, qualified staff.

Without donor support, Cornerstone Center cannot pay competitive wages, and every teacher that Cornerstone loses means fewer children and families they can serve. Please help Cornerstone Center continue their important work this year through a monetary gift, a gift of stock, or by joining me as a member of Cornerstone’s monthly giving club. Your support means more than you know for families like mine.

With gratitude,

Nicole