Lifetime Center: Nurturing Futures, One Child at a Time

Written by Itzel Martinez Garcia

August 17, 2023

Meet Latoya Brown-Clayton, the inspiring and motivational founder of Lifetime Center. Lifetime Center is a licensed family child care business located in Hartford, CT. What began as a humble home-based daycare for a small group of infants to school-agers has now blossomed into a thriving educational haven for up to 12 children, ages 0-12. With a deep-rooted passion for early childhood development and a dedicated team that includes her mother, husband, aunt, and son, Latoya has created a nurturing environment that offers hands-on learning, enrichment programs, and mentorship.

The Journey

For the past nine years, Latoya’s journey has been a testament to dedication and perseverance. Inspired by her love for children and fueled by the demand for quality childcare in her community, Latoya expanded her small home daycare to accommodate more children. With a strong support system from her family, she has managed to maintain a warm and caring atmosphere while ensuring every child receives the attention they deserve. However, as the demand for licensed infant and after-school care options continued to rise, Latoya set her sights on an even greater goal: opening a full daycare center within the next two years to serve over 100 children.

Expanding Impact

The future holds exciting prospects for Lifetime Center as Latoya’s dream of opening a full daycare center takes shape. With expanded capacity and a dedicated staff, the new center will offer enrichment programs from infancy through pre-K, along with reserved spots for children with special needs. Latoya’s vision goes beyond just providing childcare; she aims to create a space where children thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Community Support and Mentorship

In addition to her daycare business, Latoya launched a mentorship program in 2017 to uplift fellow women of color childcare providers. Drawing from her own experience and challenges, she offers guidance and business knowledge to those starting out in the industry. This initiative demonstrates her commitment to giving back to the community and empowering other entrepreneurs.

Overcoming Challenges

Running a daycare business presented numerous challenges, from fluctuating food costs to meeting payroll demands. However, Latoya’s determination and resourcefulness allowed her to overcome these obstacles and continue providing exceptional care for the children under her watch.

Financial Support from HEDCO

A grant received from HEDCO provided a timely boost to her business operations. This financial assistance allowed her to cover payroll, hire administrative support, and focus on delivering high-quality childcare and educational programs. The grant also opened doors to new opportunities, including government contracting and summer enrichment programs in collaboration with the Hartford Board of Education.

I am tremendously appreciative of the grant I received from HEDCO earlier this year. Their support could not have come at a better time for my small business for the first time applying.

 

The grant made it possible for me to have money for payroll when I was missing $100, $300, or $1000 from payroll or needing money for the farmers market. I also hired an administrator for 20 hours per week. Having this help with paperwork and licensing requirements has been an absolute blessing. It’s allowed me to dedicate my time fully to our children, families, and education programs. We went on field trips to parks, libraries, and museums this year.

 

I am also grateful for the opportunity the grant provided to attend the recent GovCon conference. Learning about government contracting opened my eyes to new possibilities. We now proudly provide a summer enrichment program through Hartford board of education to Sands Elementary Public Schools! Raven Brown is my wonderful executive assistant for the summer enrichment program.

 

Most of all, this grant gave me hope and renewed purpose at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed juggling it all,” says Latoya.

Words of Wisdom

Latoya’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs reflects her own journey. She emphasizes the importance of building a robust support network that includes mentors, peers, and family. Recognizing that success is rarely achieved in isolation, Latoya’s story showcases the power of collaboration and resilience.

A Bright Future Ahead

As Lifetime Center prepares to embark on its next chapter with the opening of the full daycare center, Latoya’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration. Her dedication to nurturing the next generation, uplifting her community, and creating a space for growth and learning underscores the true essence of a business success story. Latoya’s journey reminds us that with passion, determination, and the right support, dreams can become reality, and futures can be shaped for the better.

With the help of HEDCO, Latoya has turned her passion into a thriving business that positively impacts lives. HEDCO is proud to have supported Latoya and Lifetime Center, in every way possible. A loan or grant from HEDCO can provide the capital needed to start a new business or to expand an existing one. To learn more or for assistance, contact us today.