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A Lifetime of Experience Leading to Becoming a Family Child Care Provider

As part of the curriculum provided through the Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship, each Class of 2023 Fellow met with LORE Storytelling and worked on their personal narratives explaining their passion for early childhood advocacy. We are proud to publish the stories of several of the Fellows who shared their personal stories during their recent graduation.

By Nitoriya Goff, Owner, Color of Love Childcare Place Class of 2023 Early Childhood Leadership Fellowship

The love of caring for children grew with me and I can remember as far back as the age of 9 being the first time I cared for a relative’s child. By 13, I had a 1-year-old cousin named Maria who had a bright smile and a very playful spirit, along with a 3-month-old nephew named Ladarian who we called Peanut. Peanut had the brightest dark brown eyes and his gummy smile held so much joy. Every day during school I wondered what Maria and Peanut were doing. I would picture Maria laughing, her tiny legs moving as fast as they could as I chased her to the swing and how my nephew would smile at me, kicking his legs, and wiggling in his bassinet because he wanted me to pick him up.

 Watch Nitoriya Goff share her experience of thriving through kindship care.

I would repeatedly look at the clock praying the bell would hurry up and ring so that I could get home to them.  As I walked home from the bus stop, I wouldn’t think about how heavy my book bag was, but what I would do with my cousin and nephew when I got home. I wondered if they would be awake, if it was time to give my nephew a bottle, or whether or not Maria might want to play outside and get pushed in her red and yellow car “Flintstone car.”  I loved helping my sister and aunt care for their children.

I soon became the babysitter for our family and friends. Watching the children play, learn, and grow was exciting for me. Witnessing a lot of their first milestones like seeing them roll for the first time, hold their bottle for the first time, sit up for the first time, crawl, say their first words, and take their first steps claimed a special place in my heart. I continued to care for children as a teen and when I graduated high school, I went to work for a child care center.

For several years, I worked in child care and also held a job working as a home health aide for elderly clients throughout Columbus. Fast forward to 2013 and I was home getting ready for work. At the time, I was still working in healthcare as a home health aide and at a crossroads for where my life was headed. I put my pink and blue Winnie the Pooh scrub top on and my blue scrub pants. I sprayed on my Peony body spray. I stood in the bathroom looking in the mirror and then started doing my hair. At that time I became nauseous and began to throw up. The smell of the body spray was stronger than ever. I hurried and took the top off. After my stomach settled, I wondered what was going on with me. I grabbed my cell phone and checked the date. Realizing the possibility, I called my boyfriend and said, I think I’m pregnant. You need to come home and bring home a test. The test came back positive.

Every day after learning that I was pregnant, many thoughts ran through my mind. I remembered all the growth I had experienced with helping care for my cousins, nephews, and nieces. I thought, how long would it take for someone else to know what my baby needed? What if I miss something while my baby is in someone else’s care? How will work affect my baby and our bond? What if something happens and I’m not with my baby? So many thoughts flooded my mind. I decided that no one else could care for my child the way that I could and missing any part of my baby’s developmental milestones would break my heart. I was going to be there every step of the way.

Having all the experience of helping care for children and working at child care centers previously for years, I decided to start the work of opening my home child care program. I researched the qualifications to be a home-based childcare professional and began taking the classes that I needed.

In February of 2014, we welcomed my son Isaiah into the world. As I laid on the surgery table after my c-section and heard Isaiah’s first cry, my heart filled with many emotions. All I could think was hurry up and give me my baby! He had fine, jet-black hair, beautiful smooth skin, and was such a tiny body in my arms. Holding him in that moment, I knew that I never wanted to leave his side.

I went back to work as a home health aide when Isaiah was 8-weeks old. In July of 2014, I completed my background check for licensing as a home-based childcare professional and submitted my application to ODJFS. While I waited for my licensing inspection, I searched for and bought all of the items I would need to have a welcoming learning environment for the children and families I that would serve. When Isaiah was 9-months old, I learned that I was pregnant again! I was so happy that I made the decision to open my child care program where I could genuinely pour into my children and other children so that they could have a safe, loving, nurturing, and rich environment to explore, learn, and grow.

In January of 2015, I had my licensing visit and passed. In March of 2015, I received my license to operate as a Type-B licensed child care professional serving up to six children at once. Three months later after our home opened as a child care program, we welcomed my daughter Faith into the world. Again, my heart beat with so many emotions. She was a beautiful, soft, smooth-skinned child with jet black hair and the tiniest body. I felt so blessed to have two loves of my life that I would be with every day, anytime of the day that I wanted. I knew that my decision was perfect. Experiencing their first time lifting their heads, grasping with their hands, making their first utterances, rolling, crawling, walking, saying their first word and so much more is irreplaceable. It took me back to memories caring for my cousin, nephews, and nieces.

Since then, I have expanded my program’s licensed capacity. Today I am a Type-A child care professional serving up to 12 children at once. Mothers like myself do not have to wonder about all the things that rambled through my mind when I learned I was soon to be a parent. I try my best to capture those moments with videos and pictures for my children’s parents. This is why I opened my heart and home to serve the needs of the children and families in the community. It has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. I have been with my children every step of the way and other’s children as well. I have grown to know how a mother loves so deeply and gives when she is full or when she is empty. I hope that other professionals who embark on this journey know that their WHY for providing high-quality child care and learning experiences will be a great part of the WHY generations of children will thrive throughout their lifespan years after being in their early learning program.


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