It’s difficult to raise a family together when you’re split between two households, but that’s exactly what Danielle and Chris were forced to do when Chris lost his job and the family lost its home. After two months of living apart – Danielle and their children at her parents’ home and Chris with his parents – they knew things had to change.
“We had to be together to get through this,” Danielle recalls.
When they discovered Family Promise of Hall County, Georgia, they found their answer. Second only to staying together in Family Promise’s emergency shelter program, they say it was the volunteers who impacted them the most.
Volunteers connected Chris to a landscaping business and Danielle, a former substitute teacher, with a daycare center. Before they knew it, they were employed full-time.
But they still felt stuck.
“We tried to save money, but basically we were working to pay for daycare,” says Danielle.
Then Family Promise re-entered the picture with a solution.
“We saw a need for childcare services for low-income families and won a grant for a daycare center,” explains Family Promise Executive Director Lindsey McCamy. “With her experience and skills, Danielle immediately came to mind in the search for a coordinator to run it.”
Within a few months, Little Steps Community Daycare opened its doors to provide free daycare for Family Promise families and others while parents pursue employment. Once stable, typically in about eight weeks, families make other childcare arrangements.
Having experienced firsthand the very situation her clients are in, Danielle feels a special connection to Little Steps: “When I first came to Family Promise I had the same concern: What do I do with my kids when I have an interview or start working?”
In the year since opening, Little Steps has served approximately 80 children. The center, operating out of a community center, has been so successful there’s now a waiting list.
“We’d like to become licensed and serve more families, but we need a designated building for that,” explains Danielle. “That’s our next goal.”