Excerpted from “Unbreakable” by Ms. Katrina Walker
I knew I couldn’t fail. I was a business owner and a free woman with no more headaches from a bad husband so I focused on my business, my community and my new life. The night workers at FedEx (my former company) all needed somebody trustworthy to take care of their kids.
My reputation around the community was consistent – Trina loved her some kids! I did and I do. I see the needs of young people more clearly than I do many things and it started with my devotion to my own. I kept my four children with me through hell and their needs are what motivated me to get back up….and then get back up again.
I could see young mothers just like I was at FedEx, scuffling, hustling, and making a way out of no way. I saw the beaten-up ones, the broken-down ones and the ones who had nobody except trouble for a friend. I could also see that they had kids, often more than one, with no help and few daddies. I thought I could expand from teaching little girls etiquette and since I was already packing that slumlord-run office building I could run a full-time daycare center as well.
I started thinking outside the box. If FedEx airplanes can fly around the world while we’re asleep then who’s keeping the children? I thought to myself….ME. I’m going to start the first ever 24-hour quality childcare center, use everything I had learned at FedEx and mix it with love so those night workers would have a safe place in the inner city to take their children. This was Rainbow Kidz.
I took off with lightning speed and parents trusted me to take care of their babies. I told my staff, trusted family member and friends that I was running a tight ship. Everyone was handpicked and they all got the same speech: “These children are precious cargo. You’re not messing with a FedEx package, you’re dealing with people’s children. If you want to work here you have to love children!”
I never once forgot that I was a struggling mother and how meticulous I was over my children when others were watching them. This policy made the center thrive as more parents came with their kids every week. It was profitable beyond what I could ever imagine. I set a goal in the beginning to make $5,000 but that became $20,000. Coming from a life of struggle, I had never seen that much money in my life and now I was able to help people and myself at the same time. I didn’t even have to have purple blood to do it.
I made that first building as comfortable and welcoming to little people as I could. I saw to it that we cooked every nutritious meal from scratch right there in the center’s kitchen, which I dedicated to my mother, “Miss Dee”. I saw some of the children licking their plates. I taught them manners and told them if they wanted more they could always have more. I ordered as many servings as necessary to fill their little bellies because nobody was to let children walk around hungry. It was bad enough that some of them went home to skimpy dinners but I made sure all my children were fed.
I had a grand vision to build an even bigger center for the kids.