120 Years, 120 Stories: Teresa's Story
First graduate from childcare business incubator program launches her own business!
Since 2006, Teresa has participated in a YWCA childcare business incubator program where she learned about the US childcare industry, child development best practices, working with families and how to operate her own childcare business. This past summer, Teresa launched her own family childcare business in Fridley, providing Spanish immersion early childhood education. During her time at the YWCA, Teresa also learned English, got her US citizenship and driver's license and, with her husband, purchased a home. We asked Teresa to reflect on what she gained from her time at the YWCA.
I learned a lot about other countries, new things and new people. I took advantage of the experience to the max. It was a huge experience because everything I learned in the position has had value to me in opening my own childcare business.
It was a huge challenge. The perspectives I have now are very different. Now I can do whatever I want without struggle. I couldn’t speak English in the beginning, and I couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t speak English. Now I can communicate, read a letter. I can go to an office and tell them what I need. It’s like I went to school. I didn’t literally go to school because I had no time to go -- what with family and working -- but as far as development, learning, the YWCA helped me a great deal, especially with launching my own business. It was school for me.
There is so much diversity in the world and the more you get to know people, the more you are able to understand them. Because we are immigrants, we need to demonstrate good examples for the kids. When I first started to work with kids who primarily spoke English, I didn’t understand the enormous capacity they had to learn. Now I work with English- and Spanish-speaking children, who are growing up bilingual.
I knew I had to take advantage of the time I had. I needed to meet a lot of requirements for my own business, so I took advantage of the tools and resources the YWCA had to offer me. You can do it! In the beginning, it’s scary, but after that, keep moving forward and it will be easier. I recommend this program to everyone.