Becky McCollum-McCrea began volunteering with Oaks of Righteousness Church and Community Center in 2013 in the clothing closet as an AmeriCorps Senior volunteer with the RSVP program. But she longed to serve with her teaching skills and her love for children. Becky is a Montessori-trained preschool teacher and taught for 16 years before retiring. Her dream was to start a preschool, childcare in the east side of Monroe, Mich. – the county’s highest poverty area with a high school drop-out rate of 40 percent. She wanted to support the social and emotional development as well as the academic readiness of at-risk children from infant to kindergarten. She hoped to provide them with a quality preschool education and childcare that was both accessible and affordable. Because accessible, affordable childcare is a huge barrier to people in poverty and to their efforts to find and continue working.
That dream began to take shape in 2016 when she opened a small, one-room childcare facility in the community center she volunteered at. It was offered to families in the Oaks of Righteousness Homeless Shelter who needed childcare support so that primary caregivers could continue their education, work, or search for work.
Then in October 2020, a large house across the street from the community center was donated. The community center helped raise money to turn the dilapidated building into a fresh and cheerful childcare and preschool.
Since opening, the childcare and preschool worked at full capacity from the beginning, constantly supporting a combined number of 31 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. She worked tirelessly to make it happen and continues to donate 40-50 hours a week as the childcare director and preschool teacher.
As an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer, Becky has recorded over 7,000 hours in service since 2015. But in truth, we know she has contributed many more hours than that.