Effie Garcia, the founding owner of the Student Success Center of Orting has a long history of helping children learn and grow. She is guided by her belief that all children, no matter their socio-economic status or geographic location, deserve access to places that provide an enriching educational environment.
“I started teaching preschool 20 years ago, at some of the higher end facilities in Bellevue. …Where I lived, in Pierce County, was a more rural, low-income area, and I noticed that the standards were not the same as what was expected in Bellevue,” recalled Effie. “I really wanted to bring a program that had the same standards but at the cost that parents who lived in my neck-of-the-woods could afford.”
Not only was Pierce County lacking in quality childcare, but when Effie later had children of her own, she found that she could not find one facility that would provide quality, affordable care for her kids, and at the times she needed.
“I ended up taking about 10 years off of teaching just to be at home with my children. My oldest daughter ended up having some mental disabilities and then my second daughter had some learning disabilities and what I discovered was that there wasn’t really a place available.”
Effie was not the only parent struggling to find resources that match the wide gambit of responsibilities held by parents. She discovered the need to “develop a program where there is availability that parents can afford and if they have an appointment they can bring their kids here and not have to worry about finding a babysitter.” So she opened the Student Success Center of Orting, a one-stop shop for families. Through a loan from Business Impact NW, Effie was able to open her business on July 2, 2018.
“What is great about Business impact NW is that they specialize in new businesses and startups and that was what I was looking for. Other companies could do a loan, but it would be at a high-interest rate and not a large sum and I was looking for the majority of my startup funds to be financed.”
The Student Success Center of Orting has a remarkable impact on parents and the lives of children and teens in Pierce County, providing them with interactive learning opportunities. Beyond learning programs and childcare for preschool-aged children, the Center offers tutoring for school ages kids and an internship program for 16-18 year olds. Through the internship program, teens are able to help with tutoring or office work.
“People who are lower income can’t even afford a tutoring program, and they want their children to be just as successful as I want my children to be,” remarked Effie, “so it has been just so nice to be able to come in, and in this short period of time that we have been open, hearing parents say they’re going to their children’s parent-teacher conferences and crying happy tears because their child is making such huge growth.”