Betsy Rodgriguez

Yasmine Regester | July 17th, 2019
Betsy Rodgriguez (Photos by JLG Photography)

Betsy Rodgriguez (Photos by JLG Photography)

Nine years ago Betsy Rodriguez envisioned having a child care center and a non-profit organization to assist young women who did not have the resources to afford quality childcare, but didn’t know how to bring it to life. But in 2018, that vision became a reality when she co-founded the KinderMission Academy.

At KinderMission Academy, the focus is about providing students from six weeks – 12 years old, with exceptional academics following the motto: “Play, Learn, Create.” The lead teachers at KinderMission Academy all hold a degree or higher and receive extensive training from their mentor- teacher and additional programs. The Academy implements the Creative Curriculum focused on six learning centers: Science/Math, Manipulatives, Blocks/Music, Art, Language Development, and Dramatic Play.

Currently serving 56 students, KinderMission Academy will be welcoming 24 new students in the fall into its Early Head Start program, that is through a partnership with Guilford Child Development. The program is designed to make sure students will be well equipped as they transition into Kindergarten. A new afterschool program is also underway for school-age children that will kick off in the Fall, as well as acquiring additional staff, such as an intake case manager.

Originally from Miami, Florida, in 2011, Betsy was offered an opportunity to be a Director at a school in North Carolina, so she moved to High Point, North Carolina. After establishing a life in the state, building her career, getting married and then divorced, by 2017, she found herself as a single mother and in need of affordable childcare. After looking endlessly for resources to assist her in paying for childcare, Betsy found that she earned too much to qualify for any of the programs, however her debt to income ratio told a different story.

“I was blessed to have a child care provider who really assisted me in making payment arrangements, however not everyone that was in the same position I was in had the same outcome, and that is when I truly realized the epidemic most families are dealing with; sacrificing quality child care in order to make ends meet,” says Betsy.

The single mother shares that in 2018 she saw her opportunity to open KinderMission Academy and knew this would be the perfect avenue to allow her to assist those families facing the same financial challenges as her.

“It was through a life coaching session that God truly gave me the full vision of what my non-profit organization was supposed to be: KinderMission Foundation. KinderMission Foundation is my non-profit organization that provides scholarships for families to enable them with the ability to afford quality childcare that every child deserves and peace of mind that every parent should have,” says Betsy. She attends Elevation Church in Greensboro and does minisitry work with The Kingdom Nation.

KinderMission Foundation is a newly formed non-profit organization founded June 2018, under the umbrella of KinderMission Academy, and is currently serving families in High Point, North Carolina. KinderMission Foundation offers scholarships for tuition assistance and free financial coaching to the families they serve.

“Financial coaching is about parent success,” Betsy explains. “The purpose is to assist families, what we’re doing is bridging the gap. We don’t want them to continually need assistance. Teach them how to budget and get into a position to afford childcare without any assistance.”

The staff works one on one with families on monthly budgeting, home ownership programs and employment and educational opportunities for parents. “When parents have stability, children have stability,” says Betsy.

KinderMission Foundation’s mission is to foster a safe and empowering environment for children and their families to excel through quality childcare. When providing tuition assistance, the debt to income ratio is evaluated to determine the scholarship eligibility and the additional financial coaching helps to guide parents to outgrow the program.

“The community has conveyed a high need for more quality child care that is affordable. Most financial assistance programs are solely based on income limits according to family size and do not take into account the increasing cost of living and the financial challenges most families face,” she says.

Betsy is working on fundraising for student scholarships and says it is a joint collaboration between the school and the parents. Parents help raise money for their child scholarship, which goes straight back into the school. KinderMission Foundation also accepts donations.

“I want donors to know that they are not helping particularly low-income families, because most low-income families qualify for a lot of the programs already in place. You are helping those families that are in-between. The parents may have graduated college and/or have decent jobs. But once you factor in a mortgage, car payment, student-loan payments and regular bills, they don’t have an extra $1200 per month for childcare,” she notes.

She credits her two daughters, 11 year-old Sarai, and four year-old Kassidy as her biggest supporters. She said she understands that she is also leading by example on how to work hard and go after your goals. “Children soak up everything, so it matters what they see and are learning. My children have been so good through this whole process. They stick it out with me through long hours at the school and always encourage me,” says Betsy, who adds they are the ones who teach her about a balance between work and having downtime.

She shares that her future aspiration is to have the KinderMission Foundation provide childcare scholarship assistance to families at other schools across the city, the state and eventually nationwide. “There is a high need in Early Childhood Education and affordability for parents, and KinderMission Foundation will be used as the vessel,” she adds.

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