Danielle North is Vice-president of Relations and Strategy for American Promise Schools, a Grandmont Rosedale resident, and a mom. Like all moms Danielle is busy and committed to providing her children opportunities for learning, socializing, and just plain old fun. Danielle had been to indoor playgrounds in the suburbs and found them to be fun, safe places for her two boys to play and learn. Danielle thought it would be great if such a facility was in her own neighborhood, in Grandmont Rosedale. Danielle’s not one to have a great idea and not act on it, so she went to work.
Kidz Kingdom, 18602 Fenkell, first opened in February 2016 as a party center. If you’ve ever hosted a kids’ birthday party at your house, you know that hosting it in a different location where there is play equipment, kid friendly food, decorations, and a clean-up crew is a fabulous idea. As a mother of two little boys, though, Danielle knew that parents’ needs went beyond a kid party space.
KIDZ KINGDOM BECOMES A LICENSED CHILD CARE FACILITY
Kidz Kingdom became a licensed child care center in October of 2017, and Danielle works daily to offer parents programming, hours, and activities that meet parents’ and kids’ social, emotional, and educational needs. Kidz Kingdom offers child care, after school enrichment, school closure drop-ins (this is especially helpful for parents during our Michigan winters!), summer day camp, and even Spanish instruction. Kids have the opportunity to build, climb, draw, sing, dress up, read, and socialize with other little ones. It’s truly a needed, delightful place for kids to be.
Danielle sees Kidz Kingdom as not just a child care and party center though. As she says “Part of my mission is to provide jobs.” She received a ProsperUs loan which helped her hire a staff of dedicated and qualified people to help Danielle serve the neighborhood. Currently she is footing the bill for one of her employees to receive her Child Care Development Associate’s Certification. Another employee is a Spanish speaker and nurse’s assistant who brings her own children to Kidz Kingdom. Danielle received guidance through the process of establishing her business from TechTown’s Heather Levine who holds regular office hours at the Grand River WorkPlace, GRDC’s staff, Build Institute, her husband Eugene North, her mom and dad, and friends near and far. Danielle feels very fortunate to have the collective wisdom of her community to help her provide such a wonderful place for families in Grandmont Rosedale. Danielle continues to seek guidance from her board of directors, the parents who come to Kidz Kingdom, and their children. To truly serve a community, Danielle knows she must regularly seek input from the community and listen to their needs.
SERVING THE NEEDS OF PARENTS
As kids need happy and healthy parents to be happy and healthy themselves, Danielle also found the space and support to add an original feature to Kidz Kingdom: exercise classes for adults. On Thursday evenings the Kingdom Fitness Collaboration offers exercise classes for adults with child care a part of the $10 fee. What a great idea! It can be a challenge for parents of young children to find the time and space to look after themselves, and Kidz Kingdom makes it not just possible, but easy.
As of February, Danielle is now offering extended hours. For parents who work late hours, or for parents who would just like a night out, Kidz Kingdom can provide quality care. “I really want Kidz Kingdom to be an asset to the community,” Danielle says. Judging on the success of the center, and on Danielle’s sincere interest in listening to what the community’s child care needs are, Kidz Kingdom is indeed an important addition to the Grandmont Rosedale community.
Running a business while also raising kids is tricky. The hours can get long and the pay-off for both the business and the kid raising on some days, can seem far off. As she walked down the hall to the meeting room Danielle stopped at a drawing that was hanging on the wall. It’s a crayon rendering of Danielle with “Queen” written underneath her portrait. Danielle is both tickled by the drawing and proud that a little one would see her as royalty. At the heart of Danielle’s vision to serve the Grandmont Rosedale families is her obvious love of children.
To find out about the many programs at Kidz Kingdom, visit the website at kidzkingdomdetroit.com, their Facebook page at Kidzkingdomdetroit, call 313.296.1741, or stop by: 18602 Fenkell in the Grandland Shopping Center.