New YMCA Early Learning Center to Open


Conover, N.C. – The YMCA of Catawba Valley is pleased to announce it will open a new early childhood learning center in Conover in late September. Serving children aged six weeks old to five years old, the center will be open 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The O. Leonard Moretz Foundation Early Learning Center will occupy a newly renovated building at 1104 Conover Blvd East in Conover. The grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration is planned for September 22 at 4:00pm and the public is encouraged to attend to show support for families and the YMCA.

“We are excited about helping to meet the community’s need — the need of local families — with affordable quality early learning programs that prepare kids for a lifetime of learning,” said YMCA Executive Director Kara Cloninger. The new YMCA Early Learning Center is licensed by NCDHHS and designed to meet the developmental needs of young children in a caring, structured environment. The YMCA will provide experiences that enhance each child’s cognitive, language, social, emotional, physical, and creative development. The 6,135 square-foot facility has six separate age-appropriate classrooms with lots of windows and natural light, a fenced outdoor play space, commercial kitchen that will provide 90,000 meals per year and the inclusion of universal design guidelines accommodating users with disabilities. By creating enhanced accommodations for families, the new center will provide 15 jobs.

The project came together through a remarkable convergence of efforts. The development of the new O. Leonard Moretz Foundation Early Learning Center is included in the first phase of construction to modernize and expand the YMCA of Catawba Valley’s building portfolio. This expansion will not only allow the YMCA to serve more individuals, but also innovate and collaborate with more community agencies by creating a modern program space that will be a focal point for the community as a whole. The renovated YMCA program areas will address facility needs at the Hickory Foundation YMCA, the Adrian L. Shuford, Jr. YMCA and will position each YMCA to respond to future community challenges and opportunities. In order to make the changes necessary, the YMCA is seeking to fulfill an $8.6 million dollar need through securing philanthropic support, endowment gifts, debt financing, partnership collaborations, asset reallocation and public grants. It is with deep gratitude that the YMCA recognizes and acknowledges the 148 donors who have invested $6,557,000 to date in support of the Y’s mission, programs and services across our communities.

The center is currently accepting enrollment applications by contacting Dawn Wilson at 828-464-6251 or [email protected] You can learn more about the early learning programs at the YMCA website at If you are interested in contributing

to our Annual, Capital and Endowment Initiatives please reach out to Gerry Knox, Fund Development Director of the YMCA by email at [email protected] or by calling 828- 324-9622.


The YMCA of Catawba Valley was established in 1969 to strengthen our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y engages over 25,000 men, women and children each year – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the community’s health and well-being and to provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. The Y mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

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