The new building for Twins Daycare opened its doors on May thanks to founder Merlyn Menjivar Martinez, an entrepreneur born in El Salvador where she studied preschool education.
“I arrived in the United States in 1996, and I worked at meatpacking plants,” said Menjivar, adding that it wasn’t until her twin sons were born that she decided to establish her own business.
“Salaries at meatpacking plants were not very good,” said Menjivar,” and what I had to pay for someone else to take care of my kids was too high because I was paying for three kids in total.”
With the advice of an aunt who had a similar business, Menjivar requested the support of the Midlands Latino Community Development Center (MLCDC), an organization that provided her with the help she needed to establish a daycare at her home.
“The hardest part was complying with all the regulations for it since it took six months before my house was approved and I managed to get my license. But I understand it was necessary since they want to make sure that kids are safe.”
The first Twins Daycare opened its doors back in 2007 when Menjivar got things started by taking care of two kids. “It was a bit stressful at first because parents don’t like to hear about the antics of their kids, but little by little I ended up earning their trust. A year after we started the daycare was pretty much open 24 hours.”
Although Menjivar acknowledged that even though after working on the business plan her projections “did not happen within the initial timeline I had considered,” mainly because she made a big investment and bought a property, she’s nowadays very happy about the big step she’s taking in 2017.
And although taking care of kids is one of the biggest responsibilities ever, the gorgeous woman would not change things at all: “You get used to having all these kids around you and take care of them as if they were your own.”
Kids are welcomed after six weeks of being born and can be at the daycare up to when they turn 13 years of age: “I’ve never worked on this alone since, even back at the start when the daycare was on the upper floor of my house, I had two other people working with me and we would split our workload as we took care of the babies and toddlers, so that I could focus on the kids who were already going to school.”
Now that Twins Daycare has a beautiful new location in Bellevue, Menjivar will be able to employ more people: “I’m very happy because at this new building we can host 72 kids, and we’ll be working from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday to Friday. But the best part is that we’ll be providing services in a school setting, as well as at a pre-school level. From babies to kids, everyone will get to hear a song or two, they will be read many stories, and they will be kept active. We want everyone to be happy from the moment they arrive until it is time for them to leave!”
Menjivar is now a member of the MLCDC’s Board of Directors and is a certified trainer in the Daycare Program offered by the agency, along with being part of the Daycare Association: “Every time I’m in a class with other women I tell them that all of us can excel and be successful, that we don’t have to wait for someone to give us a handout, quite the contrary, we have to do this for ourselves.”
For Menjivar, being the owner of a daycare has also given her the opportunity to help the little ones in many ways: “When I was just getting started I got to take care of a baby girl who was being abused, with cigarette burns on her arms, and I reported it to the authorities. It really pains me to see kids like this, and they were two little sisters who are still in the custody of the government because their mother continues to be in jail. It might not have made me feel comfortable to have detectives working on their investigation, but for me what was most important was doing the right thing because these kids could not defend themselves, and it is something I explain to other women who want to open their own daycare, that it is our responsibility to help kids.”
Merlyn Menjivar / Owner
4711 Giles Road
Bellevue, NE 68157