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Community Highlights: Meet Tchacona Wells of Guidinglight Child Care Consulting

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tchacona Wells.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am a native of Washington, DC. I was adopted in 1985 by Barbara H. Wells. She was a DC Public School teacher/reading specialist and because of her, I always wanted to work with children, but just not as a teacher in a school setting. I say my career indirectly began as I was a sophomore in college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. I began to volunteer at the local YMCA with the Urban Youth Services. While I volunteered, I fell in love with everything the Director of the program, Mo Johnson, had to offer the inner-city youth. The program she put in place offered after-school tutoring, mentorship, and other extra-curricular programs/activities. She also offered summer camp programs to the youth. There I found my passion, which consisted of working with inner-city youth. Upon my junior year in college, I ended up working for her along with the rest of the team and we had a mission, or possibly Ms. Johnson had a mission but we were there to help her execute it. Along that journey, I was able to learn so much, but most of all, I learned how to follow so I could lead.

After I graduated, I searched for work in departments that would allow me to continue working for the inner-city youth or disadvantaged teens. I was then able to land a position with the local Boys and Girls Club in hopes to gain a Director position. After about two years, I had a situation that leads me back home to the DMV, Washington, DC area. I knew working with the recreation or Boys and Girls club was going to be a challenge with my short-lived experience.

After being back home for about six months, I took a chance on acquiring a Director position within a childcare setting. I have never worked in childcare but I knew I understood the foundations and I knew I had the credentials. I got my first Childcare Director position with the private sector; I got in there and took every class I could and learned everything I could. Primarily because now I was in a leadership role and I knew I was ready for the challenge, I was eager to step up to the plate and be the BEST. I learned the business, I learned the regulations, and I followed the policies and procedures. So, yes, I executed and exceeded the expectations set before me. I saw this as a huge career move. So I devoted about six years to being a childcare Director of all ages (6 weeks – 12 years of age). However, I wasn’t satisfied, so I set out to apply for a Childcare Licensing position within the State of Maryland. I GOT THE JOB!!

By me obtaining a new position within the childcare field, I just knew this was it. This position is where I truly fell in love with childcare and the art of childcare. It is in this position where it all clicked and came together for me. I became a Childcare Licensing Specialist for the State of Maryland and I dove all in. I was now a childcare inspector. I case managed, inspected, investigated, and licensed aspiring childcare owners/operators/providers within the Prince George’s County area. I built relationships within the childcare community, displayed knowledge and provided technical assistance (professional guidance). I was able to learn just as much from the owners, operators, and providers as I was able to teach/train them. I had the pleasure of helping/coaching many to do the necessary things to and for their childcare business to make it better for them. At this point in my career, I was falling in love with the ideas of quality and understanding the TRUE purpose of Early Childhood Education. ECE is the foundation for children’s growth and development. I had gracefully and strategically worked as a Childcare Licensing Specialist for about ten years; then, I moved on to another venture of life.

In 2018, I resigned from the State of Maryland to pursue what is now my passion and purpose. I stepped out on faith to become a resource to the childcare community. I started my Childcare Consulting Company, Guidenglight Child Care COnsulting, so I could do just that, become a resource. In this light, I am able to transform established centers to be better and show them how to take things up a notch (one notch at a time). I am also able to coach, mentor, and train aspiring owners/operators/providers on how to effectively obtain a license to start their childcare business in-home and/or commercially. I was able to walk away from my career job and not only turn it into a business but also step into my passion and purpose of being a resource to the childcare community and field.

My business has and does allow me to be a beacon of hope and light to many that want to start a childcare business and not knowing where to start. My biggest mission is to help and serve as many as I can to educate them upon the true value of owning and operating a childcare business of quality. I definitely have future plans of one day owning my own childcare center and also write a book. My book is in the making currently and is what drives me the most right now. My book will entail real-life experiences and knowledge of how to put Quality into childcare businesses.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My journey has not been peaches and cream however, I am a go-getter and enjoy challenges. A few of my setbacks came from the idea of me stepping out on faith and moving in passion. I say that because I was ready but my plan of how to get clients was the biggest test and struggle. My plan A worked up until COVID-19 hit. I was doing okay and getting clients, but then I had to regroup and am still regrouping. I have learned to refocus my business to target those wanting to start versus those already established. I have used social media to get me thus far. I have learned to pace myself along this ride.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Guidinglight Child Care Consulting?
Guidinglight Child Care Consulting is a business derived from a former Childcare Licensing Specialist wanting to reach the childcare community to ensure they are operating a childcare business as Quality being a part of their mission and purpose. I consult and provide professional guidance to those wanting to obtain a license to operate a childcare program in-home or commercially. Guidinglight Child Care Consulting started off as a company that focussed on bridging the gap between the Orientation from the State childcare licensing office to want to be a well-rounded resource for the aspiring childcare owners, operators, and providers. Since starting, my mission hasn’t changed, yet it has evolved. I specialize in coaching, mentoring, providing professional guidance, accessing properties to tell one how to best utilize their space for childcare per ages desired, and helping those already established to come up with systems and ways to maintain the licensing requirements as well as exceeding the expectations.

At this point, I am most proud of how well I am able to lead from the front and give my clients more than they bargained for. Guidinglight Child Care Consulting is near and dear to my heart, each client becomes a representation of me, and I do not do anything less than that; therefore, I have and set high expectations for them as well. Accountability is the best outcome of all. I offer many services that include measuring spaces to give an approximate number of children they can get in a space, assessments of properties to grant the best way to utilize the space, and most of all, I give them me. I am confident and knowledgeable of the many facets of childcare businesses but I am invested once hired and am a part of their business plan. I want all childcare owners/providers/operators to get what they seek and make all the money, but more importantly, I want them to understand their purpose, which starts with providing a sound, quality childcare program for the children, parents, and families they will serve. I want them to understand their role in providing care to children as early childhood education is the foundation of the children’s growth and development.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was a sit back and watch type of person but with an outgoing personality. I was involved in almost everything and played every sport at least once to say I did it or tried it. I sit back and watch to learn. My outgoingness is what gets me where I want to be because I am not afraid to speak up, talk, ask, or be involved. Leadership is very important to me and to lead means you must learn to follow first. I followed behind some great leaders and I always surrounded myself with great minds.

I have a profound interest in life and what makes sit tick. I am a firm believer in risk-taking as well, hence why I took a risk to step out on faith to start such a company. I love people, but I love children more because they are what matters. Children are the future and are the next generations to run this world so the foundations of social skills and learning are what is important to me now.

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