The Human Services Academy is the first intergenerational care career-based program in Wisconsin, and possibly the nation annually enrolling more than 100 students. The concept that became the Human Service Academy was conceived in 2001, when Marshfield High School students who were enrolled in the “Careers with Kids” classes expressed a need for a facility to learn, observe and interact with children. The Family and Consumer Science Department obtained approval from the School District of Marshfield Board of Education in January 2001 to fundraise for a child learning center attached to Marshfield High School that would licensed as a child care center for 32 children. High school students selected the name “Tiny Tiger Child Learning Center” and a Project Specific Fund was established at the Marshfield Area Community Foundation.
In April 2005, after touring an intergenerational facility in Shawano, the vision expanded to include an adult day services program to provide high school students experiential learning with both the younger and elderly generation. Amy Beathard established the non-profit Companion Day Services, Inc. (CDS) adult day services program. The Child Care Center’s of Marshfield Administrator, Sue Babcock, committed to provide child care services in partnership with the Tiny Tiger project.
By May 2005, the Tiny Tiger Leadership Team renamed their projected facility to Tiny Tiger Intergenerational Center with the following slogan: “Learning for all Ages Caring for all Stages.” With this expanded vision, a larger facility was needed to house the three non-profit partners: a child care center, high school classroom and adult day care. Mike Check, Check Builders Inc from Cato, Wisconsin, endorsed the project, purchased the land directly west of Marshfield High school and financed construction of the Center.
On October 17, 2005, Companion Day Services became incorporated and licensed to serve 20 adults. The mission of CDS is to support families by providing quality adult care in a homelike environment, recognizing individuality and promoting social-emotional, mental, and physical wellness. CDS received funding from Marshfield Area United Way to address the community need for adult day programming in 2006 and 2007. In October 2006, Sara Riedel was hired to operate CDS. The first day of operation was March 19, 2007.
The Tiny Tiger Intergenerational Center groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 15, 2006 with construction completed March 1, 2007. Child Care Centers of Marshfield began operation of their licensed child care center for 92 children on March 5, 2007. Their mission is to provide a safe, stimulating and nurturing early childhood enrichment program in a homelike environment under the supervision of caring, qualified teachers. Child Care Centers of Marshfield received a 100% guaranteed grant from the United States Department of Agriculture in July 2007 to purchase the facility from the developer.
The Academy, located in the heart of the Tiny Tiger Intergenerational Center, opened in fall of 2007. On September 13, 2007 the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the ribbon cutting event.