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Martha & Mary Kids founder retires
POULSBO — Joanna Carlson has guided Martha & Mary Kids Children’s Programs and Services from an enrollment of five children in the early 1980s to hundreds today.
Since Carlson started Martha & Mary Kids, more than 1,000 children have been enrolled.
“She’s definitely been a builder,” Martha & Mary CEO Chad Solvie said.
The woman who shepherded the program from a single red, wood building to locations around Kitsap has retired. And on Jan. 25, friends and employees of Martha & Mary celebrated Carlson and her career.
Tamara Palodichuk, the new director of Martha & Mary Kids, worked with Carlson for more than 10 years. She said Carleson taught her how to be a leader, and how important community is.
Taking over for Carlson is a difficult act to follow, she said.
“The shoes she left me to fill, you just can’t,” Palodichuk said during the retirement party.
Palodichuk said she would like to see Martha & Mary Kids continue to grow.
The program was established in 1983. Originally, the program was used to provide Martha & Mary employees a place to bring their children. Now, Martha & Mary Kids provides services for children in the community, ages one month to 12 years: child care, academic preschool, junior kindergarten, private kindergarten, before- and after-school programs, an intergenerational program, and enrichment programs.
The intergenerational program brings children and Martha & Mary residents together frequently for activities, and is considered beneficial to children and residents. According to Martha & Mary, the program is “the largest child care program attached to long-term care in the country.”
Besides its services in Poulsbo, Martha & Mary Kids has an early learning center and kindergarten in Silverdale.