Deer Park daycare destroyed during tornado, reopens at church temporarily

Monday marked the start of a new chapter for more than 90 kids at the Joyful Kids Learning Center in Deer Park, as they returned to daycare for the first time in two weeks. 

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On January 24th, an EF-3 tornado destroyed the back portion of the daycare’s roof and forced the facility owned and operated by Jennifer William and her husband to temporarily shut down for repairs. 

For the next two months, the children will report a mile down the road to Central Baptist Church. 

"We still have the same structure, same routine, same schedule," William said. 

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Pastor Doug Harris has welcomed the kids and daycare staff to temporarily resume operations at the church’s youth ministry section.

Contractors estimate repairs could take up to two months or more to complete.

"The church is supposed to give back to the community," Harris said. "We’re here to help and support. However long they need to be here, is how long they’re going to be here. There’s no financial obligation on their part, we want to bless them give them the space to use."

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Parents like Kelsi Bonneau say they are grateful that their kids are safe and will have a sense of normalcy again after the tornadoes devastated their community. 

"I started hugging everybody, and I was just crying, telling them thank you," she  said.