A long-time integral part of the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre is no longer going to be with the organization. 

Natalie Verwey is retiring after 41 years with the Centre. and Lead Teacher Laurie Collier says there's a celebration of Verwey's work coming up this month.

"Our daycare coordinator, who actually started the daycare here, is retiring this year, " says Collier. "We're going to be having a come-and-go event for her on June 23rd just for all of her former kids that she looked after, as well as their parents whom she also mentored."

She notes Verwey has worked in child care for 41 years. 

"Then she's worked here for 27 of those years, and started the daycare here," continues Collier. "She's been a really important figure in the community. The place will not be the same without her. She has added so much, She has not only been a wonderful support for children and a very, very caring warm person to deal with children, but she's also been a really important mentor for parents. She can have conversations with parents that we can't. She can encourage them in a different way and support them in a different way. She has been just invaluable to the program."

Collier notes they'll certainly miss Verwey. She explains the centre was originally called the Portage Learning Centre, and says Verwey had the honour of naming the daycare. 

"She actually started the program here and she decided to call it the T.L.C. Daycare," adds Collier. "It's the Learning Centre Daycare, but also the Tender Loving Care Daycare, and that says a lot about who she is -- just that that tender, loving care. She's like a mom to everybody, including the staff. The staff will often go to her with some issues or with problems that they might be having in their lives."

The event takes place June 23rd from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Centre.

"We want to welcome any children who were looked after by her, or parents who would like to attend that day," says Collier. "There'll be food and a chance to talk to Natalie or thank her, and also we would welcome them to send in any memories or photographs to info@pllc.ca."