Photos by Kara Thorpe
Megan LaChance, Director of Children’s Education, Warrenton United Methodist Church
With the way she exudes grace and patience, it’s hard to tell that Megan LaChance, Director of Children’s Education at Warrenton United Methodist Church, is easily the busiest woman in Warrenton. On a warm Tuesday morning at Great Harvest Bread on Main Street, she shared details of her personal and professional life and how, really, they are one and the same. “My life is either at the church or taking care of my children,” she said matter-of-factly. It’s clear that her children are paramount in her life, but that the children in the community are also a priority.
For Megan LaChance, Warrenton has always been home. LaChance was raised here, attending P.B. Smith Elementary, Warrenton Middle School, and Fauquier High School, and eventually heading off to college at nearby University of Mary Washington. After graduating from college with a degree in Children Psychology and Elementary Education, it was only natural for her to make the move back to the place she’s always called home. And there is one specific place in town that has shaped her life — the Warrenton United Methodist Church.
All of her life, her family was heavily involved with WUMC. Her parents were on different committees and helped out with the youth group while she was growing up. Beginning when she was in middle school, LaChance began volunteering in the nursery. Both her mother and grandmother were teachers, so it was almost as if a passion for working with children came second-nature to her. After her second child was born 17 years ago, she was hired to run the nursery on Sunday mornings. LaChance was eager to start the role, since she had two little ones of her own.
Life has been a whirlwind of blessings since then. She is now the Director of Children’s Education at the church and super-mom to four children, ages 17, 16, 13, and 9. Of course, they take after their mom when it comes to being involved with the church. “It’s their second home,” LaChance said. “My daughter sings. My sons help with the tech aspects of the service and they all help out with Vacation Bible School (VBS) and summer camps.”
As Director of Children’s Education, LaChance is also in charge of running the WUMC preschool. Between all of the programs, she has about 55 staff members, both paid and volunteer. Many of them are moms of children who have gone through the programs in the past. “God has brought me the people we need to be able to serve him and serve our community,” LaChance said. “They’re all so amazing, loving, flexible, and understanding. They have so much patience.”
LaChance is not only heavily involved with the church, but the community as well. She is in charge of and part of several different programs, with the goal of assisting as many children and families as she possibly can.
Running the nursery made LaChance realize the high demand for childcare in Warrenton, not just on Sundays, but all week long. That being the case, she made the decision to start Kingdom’s Kids, a flexible child care program, as a way for parents with young children to run errands on their own time so that when they are home with their kids, they can fully focus on spending time with them. When the program started, it was available just four hours a week. The demand was so high that the program grew rapidly and now runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., five days a week.
Between heading the nursery, the preschool program, summer camps, as well as being in charge of the children’s ministry programs, you’d think LaChance would be maxed out. But she hasn’t stopped there. In 2016, she took over the Running Club at Brumfield Elementary. They run in the mornings when it’s warm enough, and in the winter they have games in the gym before school. She also formed a partnership with the local Parks & Recreation Department and now assists them with their community events that they hold throughout the year.
In terms of growth, LaChance, of course, has big plans and dreams. She hopes to eventually offer scholarships for the preschool and Kingdom’s Kids programs. At the top of her list is connecting with the local family shelter in order to provide childcare for parents who are in the process of looking for work. “I would love for WUMC, as a church, to expand into the community,” LaChance said. “What would help out local families? Do they need a skating rink? A tutoring facility? A coffee shop? We’d love to be able to help out more with the community’s needs.”
LaChance has worked at attaining more skills that would help her achieve her goals of assisting in the community. She recently participated in the Leadership Fauquier program, an organization whose mission is to foster a community of collaborative leaders. “I wanted a good foundation of management and leadership skills,” LaChance said. “I wanted to be able to look at what’s already great, so that we can support that and also focus on what’s lacking and figure out how we can improve on that.”
Long story short, LaChance is on the move and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In the future, she has dreams to help minister to families in need. She mentioned that one day she’d even like to become a foster parent. Thank you for your service to the community, Megan! We can’t wait to see what you do next.