Entrepreneur Hour: Karlena Wilkinson

Tell the World about yourself

Karlena Wilkinson Headshot

Karlena Wilkinson Headshot

I am a 32 year old, wife and a mother of 3. I was born in San Antonio, TX. And then moved to Rahway, NJ for middle and high school. I was a swimmer and I was very much athletic. I moved to PA in 2005. I attended Northampton Community College for my Associates in Elementary Education and attended The University of Phoenix for my Bachelors in Elementary Education.

Karlena Handling non stop business

Karlena Handling non stop business

How did you get the idea of this company

I have worked in numerous Child Care facilities in which were not run correctly. Ownership of these companies only cared about receiving a check for children instead of investing their time and love into their students. I worked in lower income areas where the daycare centers were gloomy, furniture in poor condition, and just overall disgusting. When speaking to the owners of these facilities, they stated that their clientele were low income and that they only get paid a portion of the tuition to “deal with them”. This is when I knew I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to open child care facilities that were able to cater to all students of all socio-economic statuses. To provide high quality low cost child care to all! I provide a safe, and effective learning environment for children of all ages. Each child is seen as an individual and catered to in that manner. Opening up this center took me 10 years to accomplish, but it was an amazing move because I have helped many families. My centers are open 24hrs and 7 days a week. This helps working parents have a safe location for their babies to go and be cared for. Child safety and parent accommodations are of high importance to me and these are the reasons I opened my company.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do in life

Since I was very young, about 7 or 8 years old, I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher like my father. I started my first job in a child care facility at 18 years old because my parents said I needed to work. At the time I was in college for Nursing. Once I started the job in the child care center, I never looked back and switched my major almost immediately! I've always wanted to help children. They are the future!

What is your ambition

Karlena Cleaning up some toys left behind

Karlena Cleaning up some toys left behind

My ambition comes from my children. Not just my own children, but from every child that enrolls in my center. They give me the drive I need to succeed. I wake up every day to make a difference in the lives of all children. My husband pushes me every day to become great and has pushed me from the beginning to open this company, so a lot of my ambition comes from him!

How can you make your company better

I want to expand! I have 3 locations now within a year and a half! I want to offer parenting classes, I want to offer services for children and parents in need. I want to raise funds for my kids in my centers to go to college.... my companies are important to me on a different level, a deeper more connected level.

What is unique about you and your business

First, we are open 24hrs, 7 days a week! That is a feat in itself! Second, our daycare is not just a daycare, it is a school. A school that teaches curriculum and creates well rounded little individuals. Lastly, you will never meet an owner of a child care facility that loves their students more than I do. I feel as if I gave birth to them! They are my world! I am not only the owner, but I teach at all of my centers and am very involved in the public schools with all of my students! My students are important. I have very close bonds with most of the parents that bring their children to my centers. They lean on my for support, I give advice, they fall , I catch them! I am accessible 24/7 to my clients!

What's your best "I made it, this is my business" moment


The moment I was voted Best Daycare for 2019 by Ray Priced Honda! I knew I was on the right track! To get shout outs and media for a daycare is extremely rare! Once I got that award, I was excited! Also when my centers started filling up and had a waiting list! It was so humbling to see how many parents wanted their children in my centers!

What advice do you have for someone starting a business in your field

Go for it! Just do it! I don't care how much money you have in the bank! Set a goal and stick to it. I had absolutely nothing and when I put my mind to opening my company, in 1 short year I did it. Always go for your dreams. There will be people trying to knock you down or try to talk you out of going towards your goal..... don't ever listen! You will be that you went for your dreams. I did not have a lot and I was too scared to have dreams of owning my own company. But one day I woke up and I went for it! Do the same! If you have nobody to support you, call me! I will be your biggest fan!

Where can people find you and your work

Everyone can find me at my centers locations! My phone number is online so you can call my cell! I am on Instagram for The Child Development Center of Easton and Facebook as well! I always post pictures of what the kids and myself are doing! Come stop by, take a tour! If you want to talk business and opportunity, we can do that too!


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