Healy-Murphy Center (HMC) has been serving the educational and social needs of San Antonio’s underserved populations for over 125 years. Mother Margaret Mary Healy Murphy and the Sisters of the Holy Spirit opened what was then known as St. Peter Claver Academy in 1888, and was the first Catholic school and church for African-Americans in the state of Texas. In 1970, the Sisters of the Holy Spirit revised Healy-Murphy’s mission to focus on educating youth in crisis who were not being served by traditional school and community organizations. Today, Healy-Murphy continues to educate young people living in dire circumstances. Many have been the victims of violence and abuse; most are caught in a cycle of poverty and poor health. HMC helps students lift themselves out of generational poverty and low academic achievement through an accredited high school and GED diploma program, healthcare and wellness education, career and college readiness training, and on-campus childcare.
The Child Development Center is one of the many successful programs administered by Healy-Murphy Center. A longtime Texas Rising Star provider, a designation which recognizes centers that continually exceed basic childcare standards, the Healy-Murphy Child Development Center provides quality daycare and early childhood education to 200 low-income children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Approximately half of these infants and toddlers are the children of teen parents attending Healy-Murphy’s high school program, which provides the added benefit of allowing parents to complete their high school education, while giving their children a meaningful head start in their educational life. The remaining 50% are the children of low-income families who qualify for the City of San Antonio’s Child Care Services reimbursement program. 80% of all children come from households with incomes of less than $15,000. On average, 73% of children served are Hispanic, 21% are African-American, and 6% are Anglo. The infant and toddler program has three key components:
Early Childhood Education: ;The Child Development Center infant and toddler program utilizes the best-practices in early childhood education to promote sensory, motor, perceptual and language skills. Teachers and caregivers introduce these skills through materials and activities that are both child-centered and teacher-directed. By regularly observing each child’s development, teachers and caregivers plan interactions and lessons that build on children’s strengths and individual interests.
Parent Involvement and Support: ;Healy-Murphy values the active involvement of parents in the infant and toddler program, both through committee and classroom participation. Parent Days help the children to see their parents as important and concerned members of the center’s environment, while providing parents with opportunities to view the child with teachers and other children.
Health Services and Wellness Education: ;Understanding the importance of healthy physical development in the earliest years, Healy-Murphy provides free weekly well-checks for all infants and toddlers. Through a partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center, a nurse practitioner examines each child who may be presenting signs of illness and provides consultations to their parents. Additionally, she provides regular, broad-ranging health assessments, screenings and preventive care for all infants and toddlers.
The existing Child Development Center is located at a high-traffic intersection across from the main campus and consists of buildings that are inadequate to safely meet the needs of educating and caring for nearly 200 infants and toddlers served annually. The three main CDC buildings include a retrofitted historic limestone rock home built ca. 1850, a cinderblock building built in 1987, and a two-room portable structure that is over 25 years old. Each building is in need of extensive infrastructure repairs.
In 2016, the Healy-Murphy Center engaged LPA Architects and Malitz Construction to provide an estimate for upgrading the current facilities and an estimate for building a new facility. Because the construction estimates came in at nearly $4 million, HMC decided that it would be in the best interest of its clients and their families to build a new facility, utilizing the best practices for early childhood education facility design, and safely located on Healy-Murphy Center’s main campus. The site for the new Child Development Center has already been purchased by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate, the founders of the school and the property owners for the entirety of the main school and daycare campuses. The Sisters of the Holy Spirit purchased the land with the intent of allowing Healy-Murphy Center to construct the Child Development Center on the site upon completion of the capital campaign.
In September of 2017, HMC hired Crescent to pursue NMTCs in conjunction with its overall financing plan for the new Child Development Center. Crescent worked to secure an investor commitment along with Federal NMTC allocation. In December of 2018, Crescent and HMC closed on $6.0M of Federal NMTCs provided by Capital Impact Partners, leveraging a NMTC equity investment made by Capital One Bank. The NMTC subsidy will allow HMC to complete the Child Development Center project and retain the existing 28 employees.