Our History

About Rosa Lee Young Childhood Center

History of Rosa Lee Young Childhood Center

Playing Child
Learning Child's
Learning Child's

Rosa Lee Young Childhood Center was founded over 45 years ago when a group of well-intentioned women had an idea. The idea was to create a high-quality, affordable childcare center for people from all socio-economic backgrounds. These women took their idea to the streets, some of them pushing their own children in strollers, as they knocked on the door of Rockville Centre residents to ask if they had a need for a childcare. With 7 affirmative answers, they had themselves the start of a childcare center. It was in the basement of the Shiloh Baptist Church that Rosa Lee Young opened its door. Every Monday morning, the classroom would be set up and then packed up again every Friday afternoon, as the church needed the space over the weekend. During weekday choir rehearsals, these founding women would help rock the children to sleep. Their legacy of ordinary people achieving extraordinary results continues to be celebrated at Rosa Lee Young Childhood Center through the appreciation of the staff and board that keep their vision alive.
In continued acknowledgment of those women with an idea:
Adrienne Levin, Peggy Roberts, Marie Rothschild, Ethel Schwartz, Gloria Seidenberg, Joan Sheppard, Bernice Sills, Gloria Wallick, Mitzi Weissman, and Rhoda White.
1972 - Rosa Lee Young Childhood Center opens in the Shiloh Baptist Church basement with a philosophy of promoting development of the whole child. Enrollment is 7 children.
1976 - The Center moves into rented space in the United Church building on Morris and Lakeview with an enrollment of 45 children.
1978 - The Board appoints Joan Sheppard as Director and a new class for 3 year olds opens with Jeannine Rey as teacher.
1981 - Rosa Lee Young purchases and renovates the house at 180 North Village Avenue that is still our home. The Center offers classes for 3 year olds, 3 and 4 year olds and a Kindergarten class.
1982 - The Center hires a social worker, Barbara Andrejewski, CSW, to work with parents, assist teachers, and provide liaison to agencies working with Rosa Lee Young.
1983 - The Center opens an after-school program for elementary school students and purchases its first bus.
1989 - Jeannine Rey appointed Educational Director to assist in developing educational programs and provide staff development.
1992 - The Center undergoes a major renovation that provides an additional classroom, Teachers’ lounge, conference room, staff restroom, and a disabled access entrance.
1993 - The Center receives a $50,000 endowment from Franklin G. (Jerry) Bishop in honor of his wife, Evelyn.
1994 - A Toddler program is opened. Rose Lee Young is now licensed to serve 85 children.
1997 - Rosa Lee Young celebrates its 25th anniversary and honors A. Thomas Levin, our longtime attorney, who provides his services to the Center pro bono.
2003 - The New York State Board of Regents officially charters Rosa Lee Young as a school. The Center celebrates its 30th anniversary and honors Joan Sheppard and Herb and Rita Gold.
2004 - Joan Sheppard becomes Executive Director Emerita and Jeannine Rey is appointed Rosa Lee Young’s new Executive Director.
2005 - The Center holds its first fundraising House Tour to raise money for a new bus. The school’s playground is refurbished through Matthew Quinterno’s Eagle Scout project. Building improvements take place.
2006 - Through former RLY student William Pressimone’s Eagle Scout project, several outside improvements are made.
2007 - The Center purchases a new bus through fundraising efforts and generous donations from the National Council of Jewish Women, South Shore Section, and the Chasinoff Foundation. The second House Tour takes place and Rosa Lee Young celebrates its 35th anniversary and honors State Senator Dean Skelos, Former RVC Mayor Eugene J. Murray, and NCJW South Shore Section.
2008 - The Center is converted to gas heat using Community Block Grant Development Funds.
2009 - The Center’s yard redesigned into “Nature’s Outdoor Playground” by Kathleen Gray and Melissa Flannagan as their Girl Scout Gold Award project. The St. John’s University La Cross Team painted all the classrooms as part of the University’s Community Service Day.
2010- The Center renewed its partnership with Adelphi University by accepting two of its social work majors as interns, and with Molloy College by accepting an early childhood education major as a student teacher.
2011 - The Center established an Advisory Board of former Board of Trustees members.
2012 - Rosa Lee Young celebrates its 40th Anniversary!
2014 - A second Toddler class is opened.

2017 - Rosa Lee Young celebrates its 45th Anniversary!

Who was Rosa Lee Young?

Rosa Lee Young was a Rockville Centre resident who believed every child had a gift, a talent, and a light. She and her husband, Charles Young, were the founders and elders of the Shiloh Baptist Church. Rosa Lee Young knew that education was the foundation to succeed in life. In 1941, Rosa Lee Young helped her daughter, Ethel Gillespie, take action against the Rockville Centre school district to change the education the students of the Clinton Avenue School were receiving. There were 82 children attending the Clinton Avenue School, seventy of the students were black and the other 12 children had disabilities and were kept out of the Rockville Centre schools. The girls were being taught how to cook, clean, iron, and serve; the boys were being taught how to be janitors. After this protest action was taken, changes were made. Rosa Lee Young was well-respected in the community as she shared her respect for education, reading, love of family, and church with the community.
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