It takes a village, as well as money, to successfully run a preschool, and the Bismarck Early Childhood Education Program, or BECEP, just got a leg up thanks to a generous donation to the tune of $132,000 dollars.

After closing its doors in 2022, the Child’s Hope Learning Center board of directors had to decide where to donate all of the money from the dissolution of the center and they chose nineteen organizations.

Having cared for hundreds of kids from BECEP before and after school over the years, Shelly Hauge, the former director of Child’s Hope, knew who she wanted to help most.

“Their kids were our kids and we were all like a family at Child’s Hope,” Shelly Hauge, former director CHLC, reminisced. “I kind of leaned toward, ‘Can we please send more to these guys because this group is the people we worked with and cared for all of those years.?’ It really meant a lot to the board and the staff to donate those funds to this organization.”

While BECEP is state and federally funded, money is always limited.
Teachers often spend their own money to provide supplies for classrooms, equipment is often in need of updates, and much more.
So BECEP’s coordinator Valerie Bakken says this donation will will go a long, long way.

“It was a complete shock. It was an amazing amount. I can’t show my appreciation enough of how grateful we are to get those funds for our BECEP program. Having these extra funds will definitely help support those programs at the fullest amount. And we can look to possibly adding other things the classroom may have wanted on their wish list, and now they’ll be able to have thanks to these funds from Shelly and from Child’s Hope”

Bakken says BECEP has been discussing a fundraising plan to raise money to update the indoor gym and playground equipment, and this donation will get them well on their way to making those purchases.