Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

YaSheka Taylor

A+ Nursery and Preschool

Milton, Massachusetts

“Ascendus saw me as a person who serves the community and wanted to help. They had faith in my business.” –YaSheka Taylor

Continuing a Legacy

YaSheka was teaching first grade in Roxbury, Massachusetts when her mentor and founder of the school she taught at passed away. “I wanted to continue his legacy and philosophy to educate children in a way that inspires them to continue to learn, so I started A+ preschool in 2004. I wanted to give back to the community.” At A+ preschool, YaSheka prioritizes education through activities, including field trips, nature walks, and performances in the community. “Our goal is to expose them to life. This is a rare time when learning is fun for them.” YaSheka also emphasizes parental involvement. “We show the parent how they can be a lifelong advocate for their child’s learning.”

Keeping Faith

On March 13th, 2020, YaSheka learned that all public programs, including daycares, would need to close by March 17th due to COVID-19. “The biggest challenge was that we were in the middle of renewing our license, so our licensing was put on pause until we were given approval to continue operating.” YaSheka was also in the middle of applying for a loan from Ascendus, and knew she needed more time until her renewed license was approved. “I requested an extension on my application, and Ascendus gave me one. During this time, I was applying for other loans and grants and getting denied. I was afraid, I was concerned about the staff and worried about what would happen to them if I let them go. But Ascendus gave me a loan even knowing my business would be closed. They saw me as a person who serves the community and wanted to help. They had faith in my business.”

Making a Plan

When her loan was approved, YaSheka felt grateful yet still uncertain. “I was nervous because with my daycare now closed and so many overhead costs, I had no idea how to use the loan.” She turned again to Ascendus, who connected her to the support she needed. “Ascendus referred me to a financial coach from a partner organization who met with me regularly for three months and walked me through the financial plan I would need to survive COVID-19.” With this guidance, YaSheka was able to use her loan in the most effective way. “I used my loan for mortgage on a property so I could continue to develop positive cash flow, as well as payroll and utilities.”

A+ Nursery and Preschool is once again open, now at half capacity, and YaSheka feels hopeful for the future. After months of uncertainty, YaSheka feels grateful for the lessons she’s learned and the support systems she’s unearthed along the way. “When you have a lot of worry, you have to also have hope. You have to find the right people to help you. I learned that you cannot accomplish your goals alone. I learned that I am not alone.”

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