Country Dawn was awarded Employer of the Year by the Sherwood Learning Center.
Country Dawn and owner Julie Bliven was Featured in the Lake Stevens Journal, a local area newspaper highlighting businesses, events and local news.
By Pam Stevens / Editor
Lake Stevens Journal
September 12, 2007
While walking the halls of Country Dawn Preschool and Child Care Center with owner and director, Julie Bliven, one can’t help but smile as children of all ages greet her with hugs and “hello Jujies.” As Julie kneels down to give each child she encounters a hug, her face lights up with joy knowing how much these smiling, bright faces love her and in return, it is evident of how much she loves each of them back.When Julie was only 16 years old she started working at a childcare center and saw things that just didn’t feel right. “A seed was planted in me during my short time of employment and I knew that I could do so much better,” she said. After high school, Julie went to work at a private school where she ran and licensed the before and after school program and the summer camp. At the age of 19 Julie found out she was expecting her first child with her husband Scott, now of 21 years, she felt that her dream of opening up her own center seemed harder to reach.
Three years later, she and her husband moved to the “country” known as Lake Stevens when one night she was picking up milk at Tom Thumb and saw a for lease sign in the window of the building next door. “I stopped and peered through the windows and saw a large open space that looked perfect for a childcare center,” she said. The question now was should she even call the phone number on the sign. Knowing she had no financial backing and being so young, she was hesitant to call. Julie called the landlords, Jay and Janet Kaintz, Julie met with them and shared her ideas and her dream of opening up a quality preschool and childcare center, 19 years later she is so glad that she made that phone call. Janet even helped Julie with the books for the first year she was open.
Country Dawn opened in September of 1988, and by Christmas she had over 100 kids enrolled. The rest, as they say is history.
Now, 19 years later, Julie employs 51 staff and cares for over 260 children and is one of the largest childcare centers in the state of Washington. Julie’s husband has been working side by side with Julie maintaining the center. Scott joined Country Dawn full time in 1995 when the maintenance and expansions became a full-time job.
Their son Bradley also works at Country Dawn and every staff member considers themselves part of a large, happy family. “The long term consistent staff with an exceptional curriculum is what makes Country Dawn unique,” Julie said. “I love working here because it is such a family oriented school,” Leah Page, one of the teachers who has worked for Julie for 18 years said. “She makes you feel like you’re part of her dream.” Each member of her staff is handpicked and most have been there many years with no intention of leaving anytime soon. “Julie is just awesome and she believes in quality care,” Vickie Evanger, a 12-year veteran of the center said. “If that weren’t true, I wouldn’t be here.”
Country Dawn Preschool and Child Care continues to provide a service to the children of the community and thankfully, for all the parents who rest easier knowing their children are taken care of and loved. “Having such a great support staff, who feels just as strongly as I do about quality, the hard part is behind me,” Julie said. I enjoy coming to work and seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and receiving my daily hugs. It’s a great feeling to know you are making a difference in the lives you touch each day.”