“Hard work paid off.” That’s how Glenda Gonzalez sums up where she is in her business life these days. Glenda is part of a six-person team that owns Kiddie Academy of Aliana in Richmond, Texas. The Academy opened for business in January 2017, but the planning and execution that went into making it successful was a labor of love that has been in motion for many years.
The Aliana ownership group consists of three Venezuelan couples who have known each other for a long time. Several years ago, they began to discuss how they were going to ensure a successful life in their new country. “We started talking about what our life was going to be like in 10 to 20 years. We were like, ‘Guys – we’ve got to do something. We have to come up with an idea. We are in the United States. We don’t want to be employees for all our lives. We’ve got to brainstorm to see what kind of business we can start.’”
As they researched their options, they decided educational child care was the industry that held the most promise for them. As they did their due diligence, they looked at several child care franchisors. One of the Aliana partners is related to a Kiddie Academy owner in Florida. The group was impressed by the financial opportunity it presented. Then, after going to the corporate office and getting to know the people there, they decided to pursue a Kiddie Academy franchise of their own.
Before becoming a Kiddie Academy franchisee, Glenda taught first and second grade in a bilingual elementary school. While she has a background in education, business ownership was new to her. Whenever she has had questions about running the business, Kiddie Academy’s corporate team has been there to provide the guidance and expertise she’s needed. “They are my support. Whenever we’ve faced a new challenge, I know I have somebody I can call to help. They are behind me and I feel that.”
Since its 2017 opening, Kiddie Academy of Aliana has created strong relationships with the parents in its community. Parents appreciate the loving care it provides their children and the fact that the curriculum reflects the diversity of the region.
“We love that they teach Spanish,” said one Academy mother. “There’s a lot of cultural diversity here, both in the kids and the staff.”
One of Aliana’s teachers also points to the value of cultural diversity in the Academy. “Our teachers all speak different languages, so everyone brings variety to their classrooms and within the team itself. It’s good, because the children experience that on a daily basis, whether it’s language, food, history or culture.”
An Academy dad said, “Kiddie Academy’s primary strength is the people – the teachers and the staff. My child’s teachers have been incredibly affectionate, caring and awesome. They are open and receptive to our concerns and needs. And so is Ms. Glenda. We greatly appreciate all of them.”
“I am an immigrant and we all know that America is the land of opportunities,” Glenda said. “I dreamed of having my own business and today it’s a reality. I love to come to work every day. This is my happy place! It’s a really good job that’s going to bring you a joy because there are a lot of rewarding experiences around here. The amount of responsibilities I have right now in my hands is enormous. It’s just incredible. I never knew I was able to do this, and now I’m doing it. So, I took the challenge and I just ran with it.”
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