Ray Dannenhoffer, an associate dean for support services in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, and his wife Mary Anne, are still talking about the great experiences their kids had at the UB Child Care Center (UBCCC) nearly 20 years after the youngest of their three children moved on from the program to enter kindergarten.
In fact, their son Adam, now 24 years old, met his best friend at UBCCC. They were enrolled at the center as infants, developing their friendship over five years. They went to elementary, middle and high school together, and though their career goals attracted them to different schools for their undergraduate and graduate studies their friendship, which began at UB decades ago, continues today.
Not everyone is going to meet a lifelong friend at UBCCC, but they will get the kind of care that made those years so memorable for the Dannenhoffers.
“We were luckily in a position where we could afford child care, but we know not everyone is in that same position,” says Ray Dannenhoffer. “So we decided to help make sure others have the opportunity to have the same kind of experience we did.”
UBCCC is a private, not-for-profit organization that operates sites on the university’s North and South campuses. Both of the sites, which are licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, serve children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old in the UB and Western New York communities on a full- or part-time basis.
The friendships that developed at UBCCC touched the Dannenhoffers in ways they could have never imagined. Before Adam was born, the couple adopted two daughters from India: Cathy, now 28 years old, and Carol, who is 26.
When unexpected travel difficulties complicated Carol’s adoption process, Ray Dannenhoffer had to fly to India on very short notice.
“There was a staff member at the day care center from the same part of India where I was going who insisted I stay with her family,” says Dannenhoffer. “The support from the family was incredible and it happened partly because of my relationship with the UB Child Care Center.”
But all the stories the Ray Dannenhoffer shares turn on his memories of quality child care.
“I want to make sure what was available for my kids is there for others,” says Dannenhoffer. “It’s so important.”