As a child growing up in the Caribbean I have always had a deep passion for learning. It is of little wonder that I was reading at the age of four and writing my own stories by the time I was six. My mother often speaks of the headaches she endured after reading countless books to me at night. As I got older stories those became drawings and elaborate works of art as I found a new hobby and my mom a new indulgence.
This passion continued well into high school. Upon graduation I decided that it was only fitting that I study art and become an art teacher. My dream was diverted once I realized that I would have to work to put myself through college and perhaps, becoming an art teacher may not be as rewarding as I once thought. Nevertheless, the passion was still there. Throughout my years in college while I worked as a nanny, I also found time to volunteer in several early childhood classes as an art teacher. The experience was both fulfilling and inspiring. I was privileged to work with families from different backgrounds and lifestyles and participate in various family programs.
After graduating with my Master’s degree in International Relations, I decided to pursue my love of working with children by creating Brooklyn Doodles. The decision was at the same time exciting and scary. “What was I going to do with my degree?” After all I had worked really hard for it and had hoped to fly off to some lesser developed country to help women and children. But there was also that voice in my head saying stay true to who you are. After much deliberation, sleepless nights, and long conversations with my mom, I decided to go with my heart. I began to research local businesses that offered similar type of programs, reached out to various artists that worked with children, and hired an early childhood learning consultant. I also enrolled in an online early childhood learning program and began to volunteer at a daycare in my neighborhood.
While Brooklyn Doodles has become my life’s work and passion, I hope to one day pursue a Ph.D. in social policy.
Brooklyn Doodles is a family program I developed in April 2013 that offered fun art classes and playgroups for children 6 months to 5 years old. In July 2014 I was able to introduce a 3 day a week preschool alternative program that brings together an art and play curriculum into one group for ages 2.5 to 3.5 year olds. The program began with six children and today we have a community of 14 families.
A great part of our growth and success has been a direct result of the Kiva loan we received last year. With that loan we were able to keep our assistant teacher for the remainder of the school year. Having an assistant teacher allowed us to increase enrollments and expand our classes to 4 days a week. With the success of the program we introduced our first arts-based summer camp. The summer camp offered continuity for our current students and was also a great opportunity for new families to experience what we have to offer. One of the most rewarding aspects of the summer program was our ability to offer four scholarships to families who otherwise would not have been able to afford camp for their children.
Looking ahead, we plan to expand our classes to a full day program and introduce an early literacy component to our curriculum.
$6,000 – Teacher salary
$1,000 – Improvements to our outdoor play space
$2,000 – Renovations to our classroom
$1,000 – Liability insurance policy
Having experienced, well trained teachers enhances the credibility and quality of our program. Improvements and renovations to our indoor/outdoor spaces shows our dedication to providing a safe, clean, positive environment for learning.
With the loan my business will be able to attract more families and increase our competitiveness with other early childhood programs.
The Kiva loan will create a sense of financial stability and allow me to focus on developing a more sustainable program.