Tonya Paige is the owner, founder, and educator of Tonya’s Lullaby In-Home Care. WomenVenture is honored to support Tonya and to share her passion and love for the children she teaches. Tonya’s childcare journey started in 1995 after becoming a parent and seeing the struggles those having children faced of not being able to afford quality childcare.
After 20 years of providing childcare, the industry was struggling due to the 2008 recession, people were losing their jobs and did not have room in their budgets to spend on childcare, so they were using free alternatives. During this period, Tonya started her transition out of the business. She was training to be a foster care home and fostered two children, one of whom she adopted and is now 11 years old. To provide for her family, she turned to the corporate world, working in business development and HR at UPS for 8 years. She knew this was not what she was meant to do, she had a passion and drive for childcare that never went away.
Tonya took the first steps back into the childcare industry by doing research and taking cohort leadership courses. In April of 2022, she became the assistant director for KinderCare and was there for a year. During that time, she saw how childcare centers worked, she saw the quantity versus quality and thought “I can do this on my own.” Tonya’s Lullaby In-Home Care was then brought to life in June of 2023.
A lot changed in the time that Tonya took off from being a childcare provider. This time around she found herself with a much smaller support system, having to worry about bills and keeping a roof over her and her daughter’s heads. Still, she put everything she had into buying her house and starting this business. She said, “I have the vision, just not the resources.”
Coming back after so many years, Tonya was worried that her age and the changing world were going to make it difficult to gain enrollment, but she found with her seasoned experience and resources from WomenVenture, there was no lack of inquiries.
“My motivation has always been to help children have a quality home space while parents went to work because that is something I desired for my own children.”Tonya Paige
Tonya’s Lullaby is run solely by Tonya, she educates the children during the day and spends the night cleaning and lesson planning. Her hope is to get Parent Aware certified. Tonya and her daughter live out of 2 rooms in the house and the rest is devoted to the business and children.
In May of 2023, she started her journey with YourVenture. “WomenVenture has been such an intricate piece in my program. They listen; they hear.” Tonya expressed that she has gotten the support from WomenVenture and the childcare team that she needed in the places where she struggled the most.
Tonya was able to take advantage of the financial consulting services that WomenVenture offers. She feels accounting and numbers are the weakest parts of her business, but with the help of our business consultant, she has more confidence in her numbers.
Tonya received a microgrant with the help of WomenVenture. This grant supported her business in vital ways and helped to keep it running smoothly. She plans to continue her journey with WomenVenture, utilizing WonderSchool and other financial services.
As the owner and educator, Tonya has big dreams for Tonya’s Lullaby. She hopes to eventually expand her business, but not in the most conventional way. When providers expand, they are stretching their relationships with the children and families. She would like to eventually buy another home for childcare because children learn better in a space that looks familiar. Tonya knows that when childcare centers expand, the dynamic tends to shift, and relationships weaken. If she can keep putting her love and passion into the business, even when expanding, she knows it will be successful.
The advice Tonya would share with other childcare providers and entrepreneurs is to create your own environment, develop your own experience, and let the kids help create it. You are valued and make a difference in children’s lives; you are the beginning of their future.
Author: Autumn Lamparty, WomenVenture Grants and Communications Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA