RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — Sicknesses and teacher shortages are some of the lingering effects of the pandemic. These days, certain services have elevated in demand for families as they try to overcome those challenges. One in particular has taken a hit in Rantoul, and that is childcare.

Five daycare centers closed in the city, a life-changing impact on parents who rely on those services to continue working and supporting their families. Those who work later shifts at places like Carle, Walmart, Amazon and pork plants are feeling it more. That’s why Angela Perry created the PerryAyz Foundation, a non-profit daycare business in September. The same month she was gifted her current space at the Rantoul Business Center by The Village of Rantoul. Her mission is to provide a safe but supportive atmosphere for the youth, which in turn will help their parents.

“Being able to do things like return to school, take their GED, take the English as a second language classes, or working first, second or third shift jobs. Our combined talents and services have allowed a few parents in the community to do so.”

With 16 years in the childcare industry under her belt and a master’s degree, Angela has been able to provide services to 15 children a day up to age 12-years-old. On a full day, she and her six volunteer staff members oversee 20 to 30 kids. Then 12 kids with special needs up five-years-old receive early intervention services at her home. Even with ample space, her daycare is lacking a kitchen and outdoor play space. That’s why Angela hopes to partner with other corporations and sponsors to expand her reach, including becoming a full-time daycare.

But Angela is no stranger to receiving unexpected but necessary assistance. For example, her site is located beneath another non-profit called Not On My Watch that was created in 2009. It came after the death of 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington at the hands of a Champaign police officer. The founder, Herbert Burnett, continues his mission to support youth which is why he helped Angela. He provided consultants from his program to Angela. Another nearby non-profit in the center is the Hoyce Program, which donated infant/toddler supplies. All three want kids safe as they learn.

“Being a part of the children’s lives over the years you get to see them grow and develop. You get to see their lights come on. You get to see children experience age appropriate activities and experiences even though the rest of the world is in crisis.”

The Rantoul Business Center is also home to Parkland College classes and LI-HEAP services, allowing parents who are students or just residents to get simultaneous childcare. Since her daycare is a non-profit and strictly volunteer, legislation on who can receive public and private funding has stalled her plans. Since families struggle to afford childcare, she doesn’t want this roadblock to continue. That way, she can reach families in need and they can improve their lives.

If you would like to help support Angela and the PerryAyz Foundation, which was created in July, you can mail donations to 601 South Century Boulevard, Suite 1100. She also accepts assistance through Woodforest Bank.

To learn more about Angela’s childcare services and foundation, click here.