Oberlin, OH – The former Prospect Elementary School located on Prospect Street in Oberlin is now the new location of a community classroom offering programming through OberlinKids, an education collaborative powered by United Way of Greater Lorain County.

The classroom is a partnership with the City of Oberlin and funded by The Nord Family Foundation and The Stocker Foundation. The space, which will open to the public in January 2023, will offer local children the opportunity to learn, play, and explore in a safe and welcoming environment.

“This community classroom has been a dream of mine for quite some time,” said OberlinKids Director Jenn Keathley. “I hear from parents often that there are few indoor locations for kids to get together and play especially when there is poor weather. This community classroom will help remove that barrier and will provide opportunities for children and adults to socialize, improve social emotional skills, and to learn through play,”

Representatives from the supporting organizations gathered on Friday, December 16 to conduct a ribbon cutting and unveil the space to a limited number of community members. Following the ribbon cutting, OberlinKids offered age-appropriate programming for the children including holiday season activities and a book reading from Oberlin Public Library. American Family Insurance provided attending families free quality books and offered a financial stipend for OberlinKids to furnish the room with necessities.

“I’m so pleased to celebrate the soft opening of this classroom as an important part of the Oberlin community and a crucial part of what we’re trying to accomplish with kindergarten readiness,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County President and CEO Ryan Aroney. “When children are behind in kindergarten, statistics show that they rarely catch up. I’m excited for the OberlinKids Collaborative to utilize this space as an environment for local kids to learn and grow together so all of our youngest learners can start school on track for success.”

The OberlinKids Collaborative was founded in 2014 because there was a higher level of poverty and lower level of kindergarten readiness in Oberlin compared to the county average. The collaborative’s mission is to develop solutions to ensure that every child in Oberlin enters school ready to learn. With the addition of this community space, children and community members are afforded the opportunity to engage in expanded programming to prepare for kindergarten.


United Way of Greater Lorain County leads community-wide innovation to tackle problems that most people say can’t be solved. In unforgiving cities, overlooked townships, and seemingly docile suburbs. We find every dollar we can to address them. But we are more than the fundraisers. United Way brings together over 150 organizations to power 10 Community Collaboratives. Together, we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of low-income working families who need our help in Greater Lorain County. We have one life. To live better, we must Live United. Learn more at uwloraincounty.org or by calling 440-277-6530.

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