While sweeping the brightly painted floors of a daycare center as a janitor, Susana had an epiphany – she no longer wanted to work in the cleaning industry. Recalls Susana, “I thought - I want to be a childcare provider! This is what I want to do. This is the job for me.”
With gusto and determination Susana enrolled in community college, earning her degree in Child Development and passing all of her classes with flying colors—quite a feat, considering she had only attended school through the sixth grade.
Shortly after completing her education, she opened up a daycare center in her own home and named it—fittingly enough—"Happy Faces". Fourteen gleeful children, ranging from 20 months to five years old, come to Happy Faces Daycare Monday through Friday to sing the alphabet, learn their manners, and play games outside. “It’s very important to teach manners starting at a young age. You can be sure that all of my children [clients] know how to say ‘please’, how to share, and how to wait their turn.”
Susana has no problem ensuring happy faces on her clients. In fact, she maintains such a happy clientele that she didn’t lose anyone during the recession (when many parents lost their jobs and no longer needed or could afford childcare) and Susana currently has a full wait list with the names of children who are still in their mommy’s tummies!
Her daughter Rena noted, “I think my mom has a natural way with children, and when parents come by to pick up their kids they can see that. I know I’m biased, but honestly, I would recommend her to anyone.” Apparently a natural knack for working with children must run in the family—Rena is currently studying to be a teacher. “I saw how much my mom loves teaching and realized that this was something I could really enjoy as well.”
But Susana wants to make her daycare even better. She requested a microloan, her third from Opportunity Fund, for $10,000 to continue improving her backyard to make it more kid-friendly. While the children currently enjoy playing tag in the front yard, modifying the backyard will not only provide them with a playground but will also be a much safer option.
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