Learn & Grow Childcare LLC
What Does Your Company/Organization Do?
Learn & Grow Childcare is a star-rated childcare center with a high quality program that serves children 2 weeks through 12 years of age. We have truly passionate staff whose focus is fostering awareness through everyday teachable moments, growing mindfulness through social/emotional competency, creating a safe/loving/accepting environment for all children as well as grow a life-long love for learning through individualized care. We aim to help all children in our care, regardless of circumstance, to thrive and become kind, caring, well-rounded citizens of our community and to support, and educate their guardians with regard to the resources available for them and their education.
My life has been a whirlwind of events that led me to where I am now! One of my proudest accomplishments is purchasing the pre-existing childcare center I had previously worked at for 8-yrs with my then-coworker now business partner Victoria Stratton. Working with children has always come very naturally to me since a young age, I previously worked in childcare in my teens and early 20’s but moved to something different after the birth of my daughter. It was by pure coincidence and circumstance that led me to then Kid Builders in 2011. When the owner of Kid Builders chose to retire she had a difficult time selling and there were often times she spoke of having to close. Victoria and I started our endeavor to purchase in 2018 and had a very difficult time securing funding. We could see the need for childcare in the area and the potential for continued success for the center and were very concerned about what closing meant for the community. After a year of “no” we finally connected with people who shared our vision and saw the potential that we saw! The Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance changed our lives and we are forever grateful!
To qualify as the Program Director I needed to quickly further my education enrolling in college and completing my CDA through the Council for Professional Recognition
I became a Certified Youth Yoga Instructor through Yoga Calm to incorporate mindfulness and self-regulation in our center as we’ve worked with many community resources for developmental interventions and saw a large need for social/emotional based learning.
Learn & Grow Childcare received the Best New Business Award 2021 through Market Van Buren. We were nominated by our community of parents and staff and then reviewed by their committee.
My GREATEST accomplishment is conquering adversity in my own life while becoming a mother of two and being blessed with the opportunity to have a career that I am truly passionate about where I can hopefully support, educate and grow with women whose stories are similar to my own, sharing God’s grace through patience and acceptance.
What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?
My professional goal as owner and Program Director of the center is to become a stronger advocate for early education and children’s rights. I hope to grow into my role and connect our employees and families with the benefits/resources they deserve and utilize the programs available to them, to support them to the best of our ability. We are currently working with our local ISD to incorporate the state funded preschool program GSRP, bridging the financial gap for all families to receive the same high quality early education they deserve. We would be one of the first community based organizations to do this in our area. I also aim to further my education and become bilingual!
A personal goal I have for myself before 40 is to be present! Living in the moment is such a complex idea and can feel overwhelming and difficult (I’m a planner) but is essential to a person’s happiness, valuing all the big and little moments life has to offer!
I graduated from St Joseph Senior High and completed some college. I also received my CDA and am a certified youth yoga instructor.
Where were you born?
St Joseph, MI
What was your first job?
I worked at Dunkin Donuts on Napier Avenue at 14-yrs old
Best advice you ever got?
To just be myself, why would I change that when I’m already so great!?
Who inspires you most?
My husband Matt inspires me, he is continuously working on himself and is always willing to look at his own role in situations to become more self-aware and grow.
That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.
My husband and I have a goal of backpacking in a foreign country someday after retirement!
What do you love to do in your downtime?
I love to spend time in nature! I enjoy kayaking, hiking, yoga, art/crafting, dancing, laughing and enjoying time with family and friends.
What book are you reading now?
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso. The Enneagram is a spiritual tool for self-assessment and reflection.
Volunteer activity you love the most.
I am always interested in volunteering myself for anything with my church Storyline in St. Joseph, MI and anything involving children!
What motivates you to give back to your community?
God’s grace. I believe our purpose on Earth is to be the best version of ourselves possible which can only be achieved through giving to others.
What Superpower would you most love to have?
Time Travel, I would cherish the opportunity to get advice from my loved ones already gone
What has been the most eye-opening thing about the coronavirus pandemic for you, personally?
How valuable and vulnerable our time together is. I take it for granted that things won’t change and that we’ll have another chance tomorrow. It is a work in progress for myself to take the time today!
What does the honor of being named to the 40 Under 40 most mean to you?
It is such an honor to be chosen! Looking through previous year’s recipients I’m not sure I have achieved enough! This gives me the drive and conviction to continue on this path and to continue to push for my goals to better the lives of the people around me and helps me to remember the possibilities are endless!