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“Every parent’s dream for their child is to be able to provide them with not only the best schooling but also a loving and encouraging environment – that’s Nurtury. You want that kind of love to surround your child, to help make them the best little person that they can be.”
– Shawanda, mother of Ineda, a Nurtury alum.
When her daughter was three-years-old, Shawanda began to search for affordable high-quality childcare. After interviewing with several agencies, Shawanda discovered that her options were either too expensive or too far from her home. She then remembered the child care center that she attended as a child, located right in her own community. The center, JP Associated Early Childcare Center, had a new name – Nurtury – but Shawanda happily realized that the only thing that had changed was the name.
Nurtury provided a network of supports for her daughter Ineda, and for Shawanda as well. She was active in a monthly parenting group where she had a safe space to talk with other parents about the stresses of being a parent, and ask questions like: “Am I doing enough as a parent?”, “Am I providing enough for my kids?”
Some of the meetings Shawanda attended were led by former Program Director, Ms. Hope. Shawanda said: “She [Ms. Hope] encouraged her staff and the parents; she was a grandmother figure to us all. You could go into her office and say: Oh my gosh I don’t know if I’m budgeting this correctly or I’m nervous about whether or not I’m going about this IEP (Individualized Education Plan) correctly for my daughter, [and] even more personal things, she was always there with love and encouragement.”
Shawanda describes Nurtury in this way: “it is a family; it’s a really great network of people and families.” Shawanda’s younger sister has joined the Nurtury family as well, and enrolled her children at Nurtury’s Learning Lab.
“There really was no other place, and there is no other place but Nurtury. I not only knew that for my daughter, but my nieces too. Little Zora graduated last year, she’s now in Pre-K, and my nephew Shameer is in the infant class. Our family comes here because Nurtury is a place that we can trust. Nurtury is always going to have a special place in my heart, one, being an alum myself, and a parent, and two, because of helping me to raise an awesome daughter.”
The community where Ineda and Shawanda lived played a critical role in the trajectory of their lives. It gave them unique access to high quality early education in their own backyard. Shawanda gave back to that community by working full-time at the Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation (TMC) while she was a full time college student at American Intercontinental University.
At Nurtury, we believe that parents are a child’s first teacher. Shawanda embraced that role, and sought to ensure a better life for her daughter: a life that would grant her a world filled with possibilities and the opportunity to thrive.