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Chester County Press

Community donations make the holidays warmer and brighter for children at Tick Tock Early Learning Center

12/11/2018 02:56PM ● By Steven Hoffman

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at the Tick Tock Early Learning Center in Avondale.

First came the donation of more than 200 mittens and 100 winter hats, all of them hand-knitted by a Landenberg resident. Then came the donation of warm, hand-knitted sweaters and scarves. During the month of December, at least three busineses will be dropping off gifts for the children. Santa Claus will even be stopping by.

These heart-felt donations from individuals and businesses make the holidays brighter for the more than 100 children who are enrolled in the pre-school, before-school, and after-school programs at Tick Tock.

Karen Ammon, who came on board as Tick Tock's executive director a year ago, said that the donations make a huge difference in the lives of the children, and make them feel special during the holidays.

This year, the season of giving started earlier than normal at Tick Tock. In mid-November, Melinda Hardie dropped off 108 pairs of hand-knit mittens and an equal number of hats—one set for each child at the center. There were even a few extra hats and mittens left over.

Susan Czerwin, the operations director for Tick Tock Early Learning Center, said that the extra hats and mittens were then distributed to some of the siblings of the children who are enrolled at the center.

Hardie, a retired engineer at DuPont, was inspired to use her skills as an avid knitter to make a truly unique gift for the youngsters. Hardie is friends with Debbie Horak, a Tick Tock Early Learning Center board member. Horak had mentioned that a group of knitters had made a sweater for each child in the center. Hardie was impressed by the amount of work that it would have taken to hand-knit 100 or more sweaters, and wanted to do something nice for the children, too. Hardie enlisted some of her friends to help out with the task of knitting more than 100 hats and sets of mittens.

All the hard work was worth it when the finished products were dropped off to the children and they lined up to select the hats and mittens that they liked best. Ammon said that it really made the children feel special, and it was a heart-warming scene to see the children so excited to pick out their hats and mittens.

According to Czerwin, the hats and mittens were very meaningful, just as the sweaters are.

“This wasn't just a gift of warmth,” Czerwin explained. “These kids felt special that they got to pick their very own hats and mittens. The parents saw that people cared enough to hand-make something for their children.”

For her part, Hardie said that it was very gratifying experience.

“Crafters are pretty generous community,” she said. “We make with love in our hearts and are gratified by the appreciation of the gift recipients. I cannot believe the joy it brought to many of them.”

Anne Humes has helped bring a lot of joy to the youngsters at Tick Tock Early Learning Center through the years. Humes, a resident of Kendal~Crosslands, leads the effort of a group of knitters in the community to make the sweaters for the youngsters by hand each care. They also make hats and scarves for the children.

“These sweaters are adorable,” Ammon said. “Each sweater is different. It really is the coolest thing.”

Czerwin explained that Humes also regularly visits Tick Tock during the spring and summer to do special art projects with small groups of students.

A number of different businesses, including Sundance Vacations of King of Prussia, Pa., Agilent Technologies of Wilmington, Del., and residents and employees at Kendal~Crosslands make a point to collect gifts for the children at Tick Tock Early Learning Center each year.

Last year, the Upland Country Day School planned a special “toy-nament” to collect gifts for Tick Tock during a hockey tournament.

These donations and gifts don't just make the holidays brighter for the children, they also illustrate the community support that the Tick Tock Early Learning Center enjoys after being an integral part of southern Chester County for so long. The Tick Tock Early Learning Center has been providing high-quality, affordable care and education to youngsters in southern Chester County for more than 50 years.

For anyone who would like to help, the Tick Tock Early Learning Center has a list of supplies that they need on Amazon. Simply go to Amazon's website and search “Tick Tock Early Learning Center” on the charity finder. Visit or call 610-268-8134 to learn about ways that you can donate or get involved with the Tick Tock Early Learning Center.