Ever Been ‘On Hold’ for an Extended Time?

(Cue soothing yet simultaneously annoying music loop)

We know…it feels like our Before We Get To Mars project has been on hold for a long time.
Those close to the project completely understand why you’d feel that way. Actually, work has never stopped to bring our plans of opening a full-day quality preschool in Summit to fruition. Be assured, there has been a super dedicated group who continues to diligently work toward this goal and… something is brewing!

We hope to be able to share much with everyone soon. In the meantime, here is a quick recap of the journey.

• Before We Get to Mars launched in 2018. Union Church members were challenged to take on a significant and transformative all-church mission commitment.

• The congregation chose to focus on Early Childhood Education and advocate for quality early childhood education for all. Studies show that the greatest influence on individuals and society (that is, the greatest ROI, ”return on investment”) can be made by positively influencing the early years of life.

• We first explored working with the communities of Maywood and Willowbrook Corners.

• In early 2020 we were close to purchasing an existing program in Elmhurst, but the pandemic disrupted that purchase.

• The community of Summit was chosen as a good match to partner with for early childhood programming in late 2020. Relationships were developed with the Summit community and school leaders. Pop-Up Preschools were held in Summit parks.

• Union Church Early Childhood Initiative (UCECI) was adopted as additional nomenclature for
the BWGTM project

• Leasing a closed religious school was extensively negotiated, to no avail.

• Expansion of programming at First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn was pursued and
later put on hold in 2022. Focus was concentrated on our continued efforts to secure a
location in Summit.

With a record of care, business acuity, and “due diligence+”, new and exciting plans have
been in the works for several months. “Stay tuned”for more to come!”

BWGTM / UCECI Leadership Team: Mary Sue Honigschmidt, Jennifer Keldahl, Gabby Parra, Lise Spacapan, Desiree Tucker-Sorini, Robb Knuepfer, Mike Solberg, Penny Davey, Chair

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