In 2010, Dennis and Melena Campbell opened Daddy’s Daycare Child Development Center in the West End. It was a homecoming for Dennis, a graduate of Taft High School who grew up in the West End, and the pair hoped to get involved in the local community.

“Growing up, he always thought success was moving out of the neighborhood,” Melena explained. “But after living outside the city, we realized that success is coming back to make a difference for the neighborhood.”

In June 2018, Daddy’s Daycare was awarded 5 stars – the highest rating – from the State of Ohio’s Step Up to Quality rating system. The program moved from a 1-star to 5-star rating.

“It’s a dream come true,” Melena said. “I’m thankful because everyone here has worked so hard.”

The center has been working with Cincinnati Preschool Promise’s Quality Improvement program throughout the past year to increase quality. Through the program, administration and staff received business coaching and classroom materials to meet Step Up to Quality requirements.

“When I submitted our application for Cincinnati Preschool Promise, I wasn’t totally sure what the outcome would be,” Melena admits. “But I had nothing to lose.”

Throughout the past year, Melena worked with coach Deanna Lane from Cincinnati Early Learning Centers. They focused on organizational structure, budgeting, staff evaluations, enrollment and other best business practices. Deanna also offered motivation and support when things got tough.

“She would say, ‘you can do it. You’ll get through this,’” Melena said. “I felt renewed after every visit, which motivated me to keep going, and it allowed me to walk into every classroom encouraging and motivating children and staff.”

Originally, Daddy’s Daycare planned to submit paperwork for their 3-star rating. But Deanna encouraged them to aim higher. While waiting for the SUTQ visit, Deanna and Melena supported staff with practice interviews, classroom observations and preparation meetings.

“We are very thankful for the commitment from Cincinnati Preschool Promise and Deanna Lane,” Melena said. “Your passion and unending determination has allowed us to achieve a 5-star rating and provide the highest level of quality care.”