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News Story
Updated: 04/24/2014 03:40:02PM

Babson Park enrichment center expands to Frostproof

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Miss K (Katrina Campbell) with her very first child, Jaxson Baker-Walsh, who attends her Phase 1 Enrichment Center in Babson Park.

PHOTSO BY K.M. THORNTON SR.

The center has a kitchen, and several rooms inside and a nice new playground outside which was being used by Jaxson Baker-Walsh, Kamia Campbel and Magley Serrano during the grand opening event two months ago.

Miss K (Katrina Campbell) with her vary first child, Jaxson Baker-Walsh who attends her Phase 1 Enrichment Center in Bapson Park.

By JAMES COULTER

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When Whitney Lobek was searching for a daycare center to watch after her two children, Kaylynn, 2, and Kagan, 6, her friends recommended Miss K’s Enrichment Center.

She has since been sending her children there for the past two years, and she could not imagine leaving her children in safer hands.

The center’s director, Katina Campbell, affectionately referred to as “Miss K,” has prepared the children for elementary school, not only by teaching them their letters and numbers, but also basic social skills like how to respect their elders and how to get along with other children.

The Frostproof location held its grand opening celebration in late February.

Lobek’s oldest son, Kagan, now attends kindergarten and has been performing well because of his time at the center, where he now stays every afternoon after school.

Lobek feels nothing but relief dropping off her children at the center, knowing that they are in safe hands with Campbell

“If there is ever a problem, she is not going to sugar coat it, she will tell you exactly what happened,” Lobek said. “I do not have to call and check and see if they are okay because I already know that, because she would call me if they weren’t.”

This reason alone is why Lobek continues frequenting the center and recommends it to other parents.

“A really big concern is that a lot of parents who have never used a daycare center before, they always worry if they [their children] are being taken care of,” she explained. “That would be my recommendation, which is to drop them off and go to work and not have to worry about if they are being taken care of or not.”

Miss K’s Enrichment Center actually has two locations: Babson Park, where it has operated for four years, and Frostproof, where it recently opened earlier this February.

Contracted by the Early Learning Coalition and The Polk County School Board, the Enrichment Center provides subsidized child-care and a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program for children of low-income families.

“Our motto is when you lead them, we will teach them,” said Katina Campbell, “We teach them the footprints that will last them a lifetime.”

Families of any background or income can expect high-quality child care services and school readiness, with care that looks after the best interests of their children foremost, but also themselves.

For folks like Campbell, a child can only do well when their family does well. If their family is in need, her center will seek any resources possible in order to help them.

“We don’t just provide for the child,” Campbell explained. “We help the family through whatever means we can, and with any needs they have.”

A Polk County native, Campbell was born in Winter Haven in 1973. Upon graduating Winter Haven Senior High School in 1991, she went on to obtain her LPN licensing through Ridge Technical Center and her child care credentials through Polk State College.

As the single mother of two children for the past 20 years, Campbell knows all too well the struggles working parents go through to look after their families while working full-time jobs, especially during late night shifts when it is nearly impossible to find someone to look after them.

“I know the burdens of trying to find quality, affordable child care because you have to work,” she explained. “And that was the idea behind it: that the single parent had to work nights because the night shift was the only one that they had available, that they could actually be provided a service and be comfortable going to work, knowing that their children needed to be taken care of.”

Realizing this need within her community inspired her to start her own child care facility, which she operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week, though she currently does not have any clients that require late night services.

Her Babson Park facility opened four years ago. Getting the service started, as well as getting the word out about it, was her biggest struggle. As a new facility, very few people knew about it, or about her, and thus were less likely to give her a chance.

Since then, she has received clients that have remained faithful to her business, and more than happily spread the good word about it through word of mouth.

Her reputation for caring for both the child and the family has since preceded her, and has rewarded her with a loyal cliental that, to her, feels more like extended family.

One major obstacle has been with the staff. Campbell only hires the best people who are more than willing to provide the best service for such a meager, humble career.

“I try to find people that seem to have the same goal in mind without even knowing my goal upfront,” Campbell said.

For more information, visit their website at http://missksenrichment.wix.com/kids, or call 863-223-8443.


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