Submitted by Mount St. Mary’s Hospital
Mount St. Mary’s Hospital Child Care Center has been providing a safe place for education and play for the children of hospital associates and the community since 1988. Virginia Wolbert, executive director, was there at the beginning, and will pass the reigns to a new leader as she retires from her post on Jan. 8.
Wolbert directed her own center before being recruited in 1986 as a consultant to assist in the planning of the hospital’s on-campus child care center.
She reflected on the Sisters of St. Francis, who led the initiative, anticipating the child care needs of hospital associates and importance of the center for recruitment and retention purposes: "They just knew that providing the option of child care was a win-win; it would really help our nurses and physicians, and would be the best situation for families and the growth of our hospital.”
Over the years, there have been a lot of changes at the center: building expansions, new technology, staff and sponsorship transitions. One thing that remains a constant, however, is the mission. Wolbert described it this way in a hospital newsletter from 1988: "Our mission at Mount St. Mary's Child Care Center is to provide a warm, home-like, loving environment for children of employees and for children from the community."
“Mission accomplished,” said CJ Urlaub, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital president. “It is such a blessing to have a child care center on campus at Mount St. Mary’s. Virginia built something that helps our associates and their families, the hospital, and the community.”
Wolbert’s dedication, professionalism, knowledge and compassion have been recognized and applauded by those who have seen her in action.
“Virginia’s commitment to Mount St. Mary’s Child Care Center is something we as a board have been blessed to witness,” said James Ieraci, president of the center’s board of directors. “She consistently stepped in as needed, and has worn a lot of hats – from teaching classes to making lunches, from arranging staff schedules to attending board meetings. The one thing she did best, though, was make beautiful memories for so many families, and we are forever grateful to her.”
When asked her most memorable moment, Wolbert couldn't choose just one, but rather, said, "Every time a family walks in the center for the first time is a milestone to me ... it means they entrust us with their children, and that means the world to us."
In her retirement, Wolbert plans to spend some time in warmer weather, and the rest is undecided. In a fitting statement as an executive director of a child care center, she said, “After spending most of my career here, I will need to ‘learn to walk’ again.”