The residents of Thrive at Frederica, a senior living center on St. Simons, received a cute Valentine’s surprise Wednesday.

Toddlers from First Baptist Preschool on St. Simons visited Thrive’s residents Wednesday afternoon and brought with them hand-made Valentine’s Day gifts.

“My grandmother lived at Thrive. She passed away two weeks ago, so in her memory I called and asked if we could deliver some cards,” said Cate DeAurora, assistant director of the preschool. “Two of my children go here to the preschool, so in her memory we’re delivering these cards for her.”

Each resident received his or her own card, which the students made earlier this week.

First Baptist Preschool opened in August 2018 and is already nearing enrollment capacity, although a few spots remain open.

The program serves children ages 6-weeks-old to 5 years.

“This time last year, this was just a dream for First Baptist Church,” said Alicia Shell, who was recently named director of the preschool. “And now here we are with our doors open to the public and our classrooms are almost full.”

The program was founded in part to serve an apparent need on St. Simons for more preschool programs, as others on the island had long wait lists that kept growing.

The program also aims to engage with the community, Shell said, through projects like the Valentine’s gifts for Thrive’s residents.

“The preschool is an extension of First Baptist Church,” she said. “It’s a mission of the church, and this is something that we’ve been looking at doing for a long time.”

The trip to Thrive offered the school an opportunity to give back to the community as well.

DeAurora said she hoped the residents of Thrive would enjoy the visit.

“When I take my children there, I know that they all light up. They’re all excited,” she said. “Not everyone at Thrive has grandchildren here, so I think that they love to see the kids come in, and it really brightens up their day.”

The preschool is also planning ahead for next year and will host its first eight-week summer program in June and July.

“Each week will have a unique theme, and our summer hours will be the same as our current hours, which are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Shell said.

Summer registration will begin Feb. 22. Those interested can contact Shell at 912-634-1454.

An open house will also be held Feb. 17 from 4-6 p.m. at the preschool, located at 729 Ocean Blvd. on St. Simons.

“We are inviting friends and family of prospective students to come check us out,” Shell said.

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