Dutchess County Assembly Member Didi Barrett was on-hand last week at Millerton’s North East Community Center (NECC) to present the local organization with a $40,000 award from the state’s priority funding budget dedicated to understanding and assessing childcare. “I have been proud to support the NECC in a variety of ways over the years,” said Barrett. “Whenever priority funding has been designated, I have always sought out the NECC because I am in awe of what they accomplish with a small but devoted team.”

Assembly Member Didi Barrett speaking with North East Town Supervisor Chris Kennan at the NECC

The NECC was established in the winter of 1988 at the behest of local leaders Wendy Curtis and Sam Busselle, through the passing of a town statute for the purpose of responding to the lack of social support services for Millerton and North East residents, who reside far from county services in Poughkeepsie. The NECC has since expanded over the years to become a highly-respected provider of a wide range of programs and services, addressing needs not only in Millerton and North East but also in surrounding rural towns in northeast Dutchess County. Perhaps one of their most critical services are the programs they offer for local parents of young children and teens including the After School Program, a great option for families with children in elementary and middle school looking for a safe and enriching environment during the after-school hours. “The NECC’s child services programs offer critical help for parents trying to get back into a routine post-COVID,” said Barrett. “Parents who need to work but have little child care options, rely on local organizations like the NECC.”

With the recent uncertainty surrounding more traditional child health care services locally, the future of local organizations is of critical importance for parents and families in need of assistance. “Community organizations are more critical than ever, particularly in rural settings,” said Barrett. “We are losing population, but the need for child care among other services has gotten greater. Parents are traveling farther distances for support, they need more consistency when it comes to child care and attention. The NECC’s presence critical in that regard. The NECC’s board and staff are so committed to the community and need support from county leaders in order to continue to provide for the families throughout Dutchess County.”

For more information on the NECC and the programs they offer, visit neccmillerton.org

Assembly Member Didi Barrett with board members and staff leaders at the NECC after being awarded $40,000 for child services.