By Kaitlin Hoskins, News Editor
Allison Garner has always had a dream of owning her own daycare center. After working for 16 years at various local daycares, she has finally made her dream come true.
The doors to AlleyPoo’s Academy at 204 West Grand Avenue in Rainbow City opened officially on Monday, January 8, after several months of waiting for final inspections and approvals.
Now that it has opened, Garner is excited about meeting the young faces she is now tasked with caring for.
“I’ve just always loved kids,” Garner said. “I did vocational training in childcare when I was in high school and I fell in love with it. I loved teaching the kids and watching them learn. I loved seeing their little faces light up.”
Garner, who is a mom to six children with her husband Jonathan Garner, graduated from Glencoe High School in 2009 and took some classes at Gadsden State Community College before becoming a mom to her first child, her now 9-year-old daughter.
But being a mother was not a hinderance to her career path. While working at various local childcare facilities, including St. James Catholic School, she took several courses in childcare.
“At this point, I don’t even know if I could total up the hours spent in those courses.” Garner said. “It’s been a lot. Just recently I completed 128 hours of training for directors.”
Garner is not only the owner of the daycare facility, she is also the director. Alongside her is Assistant Director Angela Harbin.
“She’s great,” Garner said. “She has helped so much and I’m not sure what I would ever do without her.”
Garner said she has also had a tremendous amount of help from the property owner Anita Bedwell.
“We’re leasing the building from her and she has been a Godsend,” Garner said. “If it weren’t for her helping to make sure we had everything we needed in the building and helping us get things put together this wouldn’t be happening. She is great. I cannot thank her enough for what she has done.”
AlleyPoo’s Academy will care for children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old. Garner said she is still looking into the possibility of caring for children up to age 12 in an afterschool program, but that idea is still just on paper.
Garner’s overall goal with her facility is to help teach kids that they can “dream big dreams” and do anything they set their mind to. She also wants to instill in the children in her care that they are special and loved, not just by her staff, but by God.
“I want to teach kids about the love of God and how much He loves us all,” Garner said. “I’ve talked to some friends about the daycares they use, and they are just sitting services, really. I want to be around the children and tell the kids they are so loved and special. Every kid needs to hear that. Every person needs to hear that and know that, no matter how old they are.”
Garner said she has had a lot of help along the way of making this dream of hers come true. One of the most supportive people in this journey has been her husband.
“If it wasn’t for [Jonathan] helping, I’m not sure that we would be opened now,” Garner said. “He helped make my dream come true. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without him.”
AlleyPoo’s Academy is still accepting children for enrollment. For more information, call 256-459-5683.