By AMANDA GIBB
Community Centre 55’s Children’s Licensed Programs (CLP) manager Sarah Allen is retiring after working at the community centre for 27 years.
Allen started working for Community Centre 55 in September of 1994 in an early childhood educator position.
“I came over from England and was a nanny, and decided to stay in Canada…Back home I did a lot of babysitting and was a natural with children,” said Allen.
Allen said that she obtained the necessary credentials and began working when there were just eight children in the nursery school. Since then, Allen has built up childcare at Community Centre 55 and three other sites to serve about 250 families and 400 children.
“I’m proud of my job and I love coming to work. It’s kept me on my toes and I feel proud of everything I’ve done,” said Allen.
Allen said she’s enjoyed her time working at Community Centre 55, but feels it’s the right time for her to move on.
“I’m ready, it was a difficult choice to make but you can’t ponder anymore after you’ve spent all the time pondering before making the choice,” she said.
Allen said she will miss the staff at Community Centre 55 the most.
“I’m going to miss my staff, the CLP staff are phenomenal, some staff have been with me for years and are the frontline workers of this profession…They’re just amazing and have made my job so much easier,” she said.
“I can’t say enough about them, we have fun but know when it’s time to be serious, and I’m going to miss the teamwork and camaraderie.”
Debbie Visconti, Community Centre 55’s executive director, said that Allen will be missed very much.
“Sarah has been instrumental in growing our childcare centre into a highly regarded place for children in this neighbourhood,” said Visconti.
She said that Allen hired excellent staff for all sites and mentioned the wonderful job she did in getting the full-day site opened at Ted Reeve Community Arena years ago.
“She ensures that children consistently get the best care possible. We have been so fortunate to have Sarah here with all her knowledge and experience… She will be missed very much, and I wish her all the best as she moves onto the next chapter in her life,” said Visconti.
Allen said that although her retirement is a big life change, she has some things she wants to do and a new grandchild living in Calgary she hopes to visit much more.
She said she and her husband have bought a treed lot near Petawawa and plan to build their own home.
“It’s actually been a dream of my husband’s, but I’m looking forward to it and helping build the house,” she said.
“Community Centre 55 has been a part of my life for 27 years, and it’s time to pass along my position to someone else. I’m going to miss my job, the building, and the relationships here I have with everyone.”