Community Counts: Salvation Army of Champaign County

The Morning Show

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Starting and owning a business is not an overnight endeavor. But for Telisa Byndum, her nights were spent wondering how she’d pay for her water bill. So she reached out to the Salvation Army of Champaign County. That led to her meeting Bobbi Kennedy, the Pathways to Hope Program Coordinator.

“When I met Bobbi, she told me about the Pathways of Hope program. From that point on, we talked about goals and how to overcome those goals. She gave me all the resources for it.”

Those resources allowed Telisa to become the owner of Luve’s Daycare. In March, she began serving kids six weeks to 12-years-old. Then in July, she finally got her teaching license. For Telisa, every day is a chance for her to offer kids in our communities a safe space to learn. Something her grandmother inspired her to do.

“With her bringing people in, showing them love and directing, guiding them. It was a good rewarding feeling. I felt like I want to be an impact on someone’s life, to see someone grown and come back and say you did this for me, you did that, you taught me this.”

Telisa regularly cares for seven to eight kids each day, sometimes nine at the most. She provides lessons on shapes, days of the week, and there’s even times for music and dance. Meals are given each day as well. It’s an opportunity for parents to return to work but also for the youth to have an educational foundation.

“What she’s doing is giving these kids a positive foundation in their community. In doing that, those children are going to want to make changes in other children, peer to peer changes. She’s like a grassroots that will do nothing but get bigger and bigger. Like water rippling, it’s going to keep expanding and expanding,” says Bobbi Kennedy, the Pathways to Hope Program Coordinator.

Telisa plans to build on that growth. She wants to provide transportation for the kids and eventually have a bigger facility to house the children. But her daycare did receive an early Christmas gift.

Thanks to the Salvation Army’s women’s ministry, new toys were delivered to Telisa’s daycare for the kids to enjoy. Another blessing that will only ensure her business can continue to succeed and serve the youth.

“It’s so wonderful to see women in particular with that entrepreneurial spirit, that drive to make it happen. To do good things in the world. We’re just so grateful for people like Telisa,” says Melissa Wilhelm, the Special Events Coordinator.

If you know someone in need of the Pathways of Hope program, click here for more info.

To learn more about the Salvation Army of Champaign County and their other services, click here.

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