Proudly showing off classrooms, art work and the playground, Melanie Holloway, owner of Brighter Horizons Child Care Center, is bubbling with joy. “Getting the key to the new building was a dream – I can’t believe it actually happened.”
Rewind to January 2017 and there was no happy ending in sight, only what looked like the end.
Watch the full Brighter Horizons story.
Up in flames
A pillar of the Belle Chasse, Louisiana community for more than three decades, Brighter Horizons provided a loving, creative, environment for early childhood development.
Then one winter night, it went up in flames.
“The building we had been in for years was burning right in front of us,” Melanie describes. “Huddled together, our staff cried.”
While Melanie put on a strong face for her staff and students she explains how she was terrified on the inside and not financially ready for what would happen next.
“We had a very successful business, we readily covered all of our expenses, but any surplus went back to creating experiences for the children with field trips, toys, and more,” she said. “At that point, the fear really set in, and I wondered ‘how are we going to do this.’”
Thanks to the outpouring of community support, Melanie was able to secure a temporary facility within 48 hours and maintain uninterrupted care for her nearly 100 students. Once the children and staff were settled into their new space, the real work began – securing a new long-term building.
After conferring with state officials, the fire marshal, and an architect, Melanie had an idea of what she would need and how much it would cost to secure a building of her own.
“We had been full to capacity for 18 years with a waiting list, and while we had a strong income, I was still worried “Was that enough for someone to believe in us?”