Entrepreneur Profile: Jonice Ward
ILY | Caregiving | New York, NY
Tell us a bit about yourself: I was raised in Rhode Island and attended Lincoln School for girls on the east side of Providence. Upon graduating in 2009 I enrolled at Boston College. I was able to work with UNICEF in Kenya after graduating for a year researching child health mechanisms as families migrated from the rural villages the urban slums of Nairobi. I then returned to Rhode Island and worked as a case manager guiding visitation sessions between biological parents hoping to reunite with their children in foster care. After about a year my yearning to live in NYC spurred me to secure a position with a nonprofit, Power of Two, where I worked as a Parent Coach administrating an evidenced-based program to caregivers of children 6 months to 48 months who had faced early adversities such as the foster care system and poverty. My time at this organization recently came to an end after four inspirational years as I am pursuing a post-bac in pre-medical and lactation studies while also working as a postpartum doula, newborn care specialist and CPR instructor.
What inspired your business? My mother started a childcare center through our church when I was around 10 years old which initiated my love for children. As I became older babysitting became my “job” and I worked for several private families in RI and then Boston when I attended BC. Moving to NYC truly catapulted my babysitting career alongside working at Power of Two. As I babysat, though, several of the families I worked for would voice their needs for more structure and consistency when it came to caregiving services so I thought why not start an organization!
The business is called ILY pronounced (ILEE) and stands for I love you. It’s a caregiver network where individuals/families can be matched with providers offering services of tutoring, childcare, senior care, pet care, and home care. All service providers are interviewed in person (exception of online tutors interviewed via webcam), background/social media checks, at least three verifiable references, have at least three consecutive years of professional experience on their field(s) of choice, and must undergo continuous trainings in their field of choice. Child and senior care workers must be CPR certified.
Dreams/plans for the future: I truly hope to begin playgroups and perhaps open a playcenter/daycare.
Why Skysthelimit.org? I really wanted to start the business but I felt so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to do or who to speak with. I hadn’t really taken any business classes so I really needed some sort of mentor. Skysthelimit.org was such a blessing. I kept double guessing myself, and everyone I spoke to (even the CEO himself) helped me to structure it and also just motivated/encouraged me to start even if it wasn’t perfect! That’s what it’s all about making mistakes and then discovering the best way to put the pieces together. It’s been such a journey but I am incredibly grateful to have an organization like Skysthelimit.org by my side.
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