For nearly two decades, Grin & Grow Child Care has been a fixture at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Waterloo.
The relationship has proved fruitful and mutually beneficial. It provided Grin & Grow with an accessible site in the city’s Church Row Neighborhood. For FCUCC, housing the child center has expanded community outreach through service to Cedar Valley children.
It has been a true partnership, extending beyond shared space. Over the years, the congregation has affirmed the center’s mission to provide comprehensive care to children 5 and younger and their families.
Grin & Grow has deep roots in the Cedar Valley. The Junior League of Waterloo-Cedar Falls founded Grin & Grow during World War II, when women needed nursery services while they worked in local factories.
Recently, Grin & Grow has faced financial difficulties, and FCUCC and others have rallied. This support has taken on several forms. One is an upcoming special concert, featuring the Brazilian Twins.
The event will take place at 3 p.m. July 21 at the church, 608 W. Fourth St. It is free and open to the community. An offering will be collected, with proceeds going to benefit Grin & Grow.
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Through storytelling and music, Walter and Wagner Caldas perform as the Brazilian Twins at venues across the globe.
The duo are identical twins and grew up in a favela, or slum, in Rio de Jeneiro. Their father introduced them to classical music, with Wagner taking up the ukulele and Walter the violin.
The Caldas came to the area in the late 1990s, and Cedar Valley fans were quick to claim the Brazilian Twins as their own. In addition to headlining concerts, music festivals and other events, the duo gives back by performing at benefits for community organizations like Grin & Grow.
FCUCC hopes the event triggers a necessary show of financial support for the child care center, said church member Paul Greene.
“Our goal is to fill the sanctuary with smiling people, fun, wonderful music and generosity for a crucial community service, Grin & Grow,” he says.