My Story - by Angie Smith

I began my desire in early childcare while I was in high school back in the 80’s. During my high school years, I was enrolled in the Child Development Program. This class was so exciting to me; it didn’t even feel like going to school! In this class, we had four year olds attend at the high school in our childcare lab a few days a week. Our responsibilities included everything from curriculum and lesson plans to preparing menus, budgeting and purchasing the food (this was everyone’s favorite job, because we got to leave the school and go to the grocery store!), basically running an ECE. This was the seed that was planted in my heart, although it took many years to come to fruition.

It was after my daughters were in their sophomore and senior years of high school that I finally listened to that whisper and made the leap of faith to do what I felt God had placed me on this earth to do. June of 2002, I quit my very stable and nice income job in corporate America and followed my dreams. This was a very hard process, everyone around me called me crazy, after all I had no real experience and I had no children to fill a school. I really can’t remember ever doubting myself or my ability to overcome all the odds stacked up against me. Somehow, I just knew I was doing what I was supposed to and the rest would fall into place. God had placed this in my heart and I prayed daily "God if this is your will; you will show me the way”. Sounds easy right? Let’s talk about those odds. First, as I said I had no real experience…yeah I raised two sweet girls, I worked in a childcare center in high school and again when my youngest was born for about a year, another small stint when my oldest started kindergarten, but experience? No, none. How about the experience of running a business? Nope, none. God had placed me in many jobs over the years to prepare me (funny how that works and we have no idea at the time) I was a retail manager, an office manager, but the majority of my work was in banking where I ended my career with supervising exceptions for several banks in the state of Georgia, but nothing to really say to the banks "yep, I know what I’m doing.” This was all purely a God thing. When the banks laughed at my idea and sent me on my way, I was discouraged only as far as the walk to my car. I hopped in and said "no, I won’t give up!” and I said the above prayer. I really wish I could say everything was easy but that was just the beginning of the obstacles. Isn’t it great though that we serve an awesome God? He had a plan for me; he picked me out of everyone in Douglas County to carry out his plan!! That is just so amazing to me. God put a wonderful angel in my life that financed and built my building. I had a very supportive family, especially my mom (who I think was secretly living out her own dream of owning a childcare through me), all my family stood up for me and helped me succeed in getting open and surviving the first few years.

Thinking back I cannot believe the confident, persistent woman I was. I could not and would not accept no or any negative thoughts to stop me. I wanted to be the best and I knew I could be the best.

I left my job and while waiting so impatiently for 14 months for my building to be completed (oh what a nightmare that was), I took the time to learn as much as I could. I wanted to be the best, with only a high school education and no experience, I stayed on the internet searching and searching for ways to do a quality center. I remember calling the licensing agency for Georgia, the resource and referral agency, even a non-profit agency called Quality Care for Children and asking "how do I get training to be the best?” can you believe they were all stumped? I can remember calling day after day pleading for direction. Finally, I was put in touch with a new pilot program called "Directors Training” (one of my arguments with them was that all I had to have to take care of children was a high school diploma, that’s just crazy.) and then another pilot program called NAC, National Administrators Credential training. Both of these trainings were very beneficial and many hours. The pilot program for Directors was 12 months; it has since been consolidated down to 40 hours done in one week, but is now a requirement for all new owners. I like to think I had something to do with that!

Owning my own business has been a whole lot of learning and I am so blessed that God gives me the wisdom to accomplish so many great things, like accomplishing NAEYC accreditation on our first try as soon as we reached our 12 months of being in business, building a trusting relationship in our community and so much more.

I cannot wait to bring my passion to Villa Rica and work with you and your family in providing you with a safe and secure, Christian, high-quality childcare experience!

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