BRODHEADSVILLE, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Every year in the Poconos, companies and individuals come together to raise money for local non-profit organizations.

The 15th annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser has raised more than $2.3 million dollars.

This year, the group chose six non-profits to help, and over the next week, Eyewitness News reporter Brianna Strunk is explaining each organization’s role in its community.

When the Watkin’s moved to Monroe County seven years ago, one part of the plan didn’t immediately fit into place.

“Finding quality child care can be stressful, it can be scary,” says Shawn Watkins, mother.

Shawn and Josh wanted the very best for their kids; five-year-old Liam and three-year-old Emerson.

They eventually found The Growing Place. “Immediately we felt a connection,” Shawn smiles.

Teachers integrate STEM learning into the curriculum, which involves hands-on activities. For example, students explore outside using microscopes and magnifying glasses.

“You have to almost, as a parent, put your educational hat back on and ask them what are you making here?” laughs Josh Watkins, father.

The Growing Place has two locations; one in Kresgeville, the other in Brodheadsville. Both centers operate inside former schools.

The facilities serve children from eight weeks to twelve years old. Some programs assist struggling families.

“Those families may consist of financial hardships, special needs,” explains Lisa Eick, Executive Director, The Growing Place.

Sometimes, Shawn and Josh feel like they’re part of the class. Josh explains, “we can sign up to lead a reading session with the children.”

Helping children grow, one activity at a time.

With this years funding from the 15th annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser, The Growing Place will extend its services past the West End, and into the Stroudsburg School District. Money will pay for classroom and playground supplies for the new location.

Eyewitness News reporter Brianna Strunk is emceeing the big event this year on Thursday, July 26th.

That’s when we will learn how much money all of the six non-profits receive.