Jewels and Gems

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For nearly 40 years, Jewels and Gems Daycare has been serving the community of Glace Bay, Cape Breton and the surrounding area. This particular part of the world has seen its fair share of economic tough times, and the same can be said for the daycare itself. But thanks to a fierce sense of community pride and a little bit of help from the local credit union, Jewels and Gems is making it work.

Jewels and Gems has space for 60 kids including those with special needs as well as several government subsidized spots for low-income families. Over the years the non-profit organization has faced several challenges—from a lack of space to burst pipes and beyond. 

But the final straw came in 2015 when the building the daycare had been located in for several years flooded and insurance didn’t cover the damages. “Between the expenses of renting new space and renovations, it made it hard to make ends meet,” says Catherine Roach, director of Jewels and Gems since day one. 

With their financial institution unable to help and closure seeming like the only option, Catherine went to her local credit union. “Our experience was great,” she says, “they found solutions to meet our needs and before the month was up, we were staying open.” It probably didn’t hurt that the manager of the credit union had sent her own children to Jewels and Gems daycare and understood the importance of such an organization in a community like Glace Bay. 

Running a small business comes with many challenges, but Catherine feels like the credit union understands that tough times happen, and they are there to help. “The credit union was quick to help—and not just because the manager knew me. They understood that things happen and offered that nice, friendly, caring experience to us. You’re not just a number there.”

Jewels and Gems employs 13 people and has seen hundreds of kids pass through their doors over the years. In fact, many from the first group of kids to pass through in 1979 have now had their own children and even grandchildren come. “I’m a great, great grandmother in some ways,” says Catherine. “Daycare is something that’s needed—and I’m proud that I can continue to offer this service for our community.