Donna Sandiford is the owner and childcare provider of Something 4 U Childcare located in Richmond, Virginia. She initially started her childcare services when she needed to dedicate full-time care for her son.
Seeing how successful Donna was providing care for her son’s needs, she was approached by her son’s specialist about providing the same care for other children. Donna recounts that she wanted to, “take care of special needs children so that parents wouldn’t have to worry about the care of their children…we would produce an environment of love and inclusion for that child.” She started her journey as a Voluntarily Registered Childcare provider, then became fully licensed, and has since provided childcare in the community for the last 20 years.
Fast forward to early 2020; many childcare centers started closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world went online to stay connected, Donna took advantage of virtual trainings that were being offered through ChildSavers.
One of those programs was the CDA—the Child Development Associate certificate. It is a study program that allow care givers to further their career opportunities. Donna mentioned, “It sparked an interest to pursue my skill set more to ensure that I was providing the maximum quality childcare to my students enrolled, as well as their families.” She added, “I wanted parents to see that they would be receiving a level of care beyond what they could imagine because I was continuing to be educated in providing the highest level of care for each individual child.” Once Donna completed her virtual trainings, she was able to complete the program, with previously earned credits, in five months.
Cristin McKnight, ChildSavers’ CDS Workforce Development Supervisor, worked closely with Donna over the last two years. Cristin said, “When I first met Donna in January 2020 to recruit her for Virginia Quality, she had no interest in advancing through the levels of the program. But then she quietly earned her CDA in 2021. Sister Donna credits ChildSavers for so many of her achievements, but I like to think that we credit our many of our department achievements to providers like her, who find every opportunity to grow for the children in their care.”
Donna credits the team at ChildSavers for guiding her along the way to complete her CDA certificate, “My experience was wonderful. Resources were provided if we needed it in any area, and it removed the anxiety you experience in learning in a classroom setting in your latter years. I would recommend this program to other childcare providers because it supports our passion for what we do. The CDA program also validates your dedication to your craft, which is being a Professional Early Childhood Educator.”
For information on our CDA Program and how to get started, visit our page to learn more.