“It’s because of LISC that Little Bethelites is able to expand and provide our unique services to a community in need,” says business owner Tamika.
Miami Gardens, FL
SBA Community Advantage Loan
For more than a decade, Little Bethelites Preschool and Childcare has served the community of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. Founded by Tamika Hamilton in 2005, Little Bethelites began as a home day care with six children. But according to Ms. Hamilton, inspiration for the business began long before that. Ms. Hamilton always aspired to launch her own business, but it wasn’t until her uncle’s battle with cancer, during which she became a primary caregiver and educator for her two young cousins, that Ms. Hamilton realized her talent and passion for childcare.
“The moment I began teaching them and realized they were actually learning, a lightbulb went off in my head that this would be my business. I loved caring for them and I saw the positive impact I had in their lives,” says Ms. Hamilton. She cites the two girls, Hannah and Farryn, as the main part of her inspiration for a business that has been operating for the past 11 years.
The business continued to thrive and in 2013, Ms. Hamilton leased a new day care facility and more than tripled the capacity of the school. An SBA Community Advantage loan from LISC will allow Tamika to continue growing her business by helping her purchase a facility in Miami Gardens as a second location for Little Bethelites and hire four additional staff members.
Now, with financing through LISC, Little Bethelites will be able to bring its accessible day care services to the Miami Gardens community. “It’s because of LISC that Little Bethelites is able to expand and provide our unique services to a community in need,” says Ms. Hamilton. "I believe LISC is one of the few companies that are really there to assist small businesses like mine. They believed in my vision and guided me step by step throughout the process.”
Little Bethelites fosters children’s academic growth via a variety of physical, social and emotional strategies and programs. Tamika, who holds K-6 teacher certification, and her similarly certified and experienced staff, provide services such as the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program (VPK), school readiness contracts for children who receive subsidized care, drop-in care, evening care, before and after school care, weekend care and the USDA Food Program for children to receive free, healthy meals. Little Bethelites’ commitment to providing holistic childcare and flexible and extended hours is key for working parents, single parents, foster families, and lower-income families, which make up the bulk of Little Bethelites’ clientele.
“Since inception our approach has been aimed at helping each child we serve to develop a solid educational foundation from which he or she can build upon throughout his or her lifetime,” says Ms. Hamilton. “Over time we realized that we had to emphasize literacy and the development of lifelong skills and learning needs of the children we encounter. We continue to evolve and use innovative techniques that foster academic growth via physical, social and emotional instruction in a safe learning environment.”
Ms. Hamilton credits the dedicated Little Bethelites team, in large part, for the business’ success. The childcare provider boasts a 100% staff retention rate over the last four years.
“We have a dynamic team,” says Ms. Hamilton. “Our staff is not only highly qualified, but they go above and beyond to ensure the happiness of our children, parents and the community we serve. We continue to train and attend courses that enhance our abilities to learn new ways to deliver education for every learning style.”
Unquestionably, Ms. Hamilton and her staff are deeply committed to meeting the unique needs of their clients and community.
“I still have relationships with families who were my first enrollments in 2005. We make ourselves available to these children and the community we serve,” says Ms. Hamilton, adding that many Little Bethelites students return and give back by volunteering, training or becoming peer tutors to the younger children now attending the school.
“We like to be an example of the old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’”