To celebrate going strong for five years and hoping for at least five more, the Children of Hope Child Development Center at Esperanza Lutheran Church is hosting the Ahwatukee Foothills public on Saturday for its inaugural Western Day.

The center recently finished a lengthy and costly project that was necessary to bring the location up to current standards. When they moved in, the area within Esperanza Lutheran Church, 2601 E. Thunderhill Place, that they occupied was not classified as a place of education. But after five years and raising about $60,000, the preschool finished its project. They needed to install a sprinkler and alarm system to bring it up to code.

“We sure didn’t want to close down,” director Lynn Hockenberger said. “But for a small, faith-based preschool, it was a pretty daunting challenge. The fire department was close to shutting us down.”

On Saturday, they will have pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, free games and crafts, entertainment (by Ahwatukee Children’s Choir, Silly Dave, and more), food, and a raffle for those in attendance, all with the western theme.

“We wanted an opportunity to thank supporters of the preschool, which includes the community and the congregation of Esperanza Lutheran,” Hockenberger said.

Children of Hope Child Development Center is a preschool for ages 2 to 4 with a current student population of about 60.

Western Day will take place on April 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To find out more about Children of Hope Child Development Center, visit or call (480) 759.1515.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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