A Bronx non-profit is helping residents transform informal childcare programs into successful and profitable licensed businesses. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Dennys Valerio has been a licensed childcare provider since 2001, running a small business out of an apartment building in the Highbridge section of the Bronx.
She's been getting plenty of help for the last nine years from the non-profit known as WHEDco. Its home-based childcare program gave Valerio the skills she needs to run her business as a business, and helped her get license recertification and find new clients. The organization has even come up with toys for her kids.
"I can give everything my children need, I can help the community," Valerio said.
The organization's mission is to provide a more economically vibrant Bronx. And the home-based childcare program is doing just that. WHEDco says before training, the average provider in their program makes about $9,500 a year. With licensing, they can earn $18,000 to $44,000 on average.
"What we provide is a whole range of training opportunities for our caregivers to continue their learning process in working with children. Everything from basics of child development to advanced classes in child development, health and nutrition," said Home-Based Child Care Services Director Diana Perez.
And for those who don't have a license, there's assistance getting one if they choose or classes to improve the quality of care they provide, and increase their revenues too.
"The significance of such a program is vital in that it provides education in a different format for people who otherwise wouldn't have been able to access that information. The school. It's a school as well as a center to developing ideas and getting people from ideas to actual reality," said Jacqueline Amedee, a program participant.
Amedee's reality is to start a a program in the South Bronx focused on education, etiquette and exercise.
Like Valerio and many of the women there, Amedee says she wants to give back to her community and thinks the home-based childcare program offers an opportunity to do that while earning an income.