By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member

Baltimore native Angela Kidane founded nonprofit organization Scarlet Covering, Inc. in 2010 to help teenage parents prevent subsequent unplanned pregnancies. She wanted to break the generational cycle of individuals going on Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA). 

Unfortunately, Kidane underestimated how difficult it would be to access capital for operating costs. She applied for grants and other funding but was continuously denied because Scarlet Covering, Inc. had no past performance and no revenue. 

Kidane was forced to do freelance work to keep her head above water until she was introduced to Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries in 2012, which at the time owned KidzStuff Childcare Center (KidzStuff) in East Baltimore. 

Although Kidane had no intentions of working in the childcare space, the board members of Diakon Social Ministries were convinced that she would be the person to carry on their legacy of serving Baltimore families. 

Kidane attempted to resist the position because she did not have the money to take over, but Diakon Social Ministries offered to shoulder the financial burden. 

“We signed a contract, and I purchased KidzStuff from Diakon for $1,” said Kidane. “They helped me financially to keep the business going and to make sure that we were able to serve families until we received a license from the Maryland State Department of Education Office of Childcare on our own.” 

KidzStuff serves children from the ages of six weeks old to 12 and helps them transition into the school system. It offers before- and after-school care with transportation, as well as summer programs. The center’s pre-K curriculum focuses on social, emotional and cognitive development that includes creative arts and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming. 

Under Kidane’s leadership, KidzStuff has maintained one of the highest school-readiness rates in Baltimore City, and on Feb. 28, the childcare center will celebrate the launch of its second location. 

Angela Kidane is the owner of KidzStuff Childcare Center. On Feb. 28, Kidane will celebrate the launch of the center’s second location with the public. (Courtesy Photo)

At the event, attendees will get the chance to tour the new facility, network with community members and enjoy food and music. 

“Opening another center puts more slots for childcare back into communities where people want to work and where people need childcare in order to provide for their families,” said Kidane. 

During COVID-19, the state of Maryland lost more than 20,000 slots of childcare, according to Kidane. KidzStuff was also forced to close for the first time in its history. 

The closure caused revenue to decrease by 30%. Before the pandemic hit KidzStuff had 125 students, and currently, it has about 80 students. 

Part of the motivation for opening this new facility stemmed from Kidane’s desire to serve parents who’ve been scrambling to find childcare. 

With the new center, Kidane plans to continue working with local school systems to close the school-readiness gap and hopes to foster generations of resilient young learners. 

“I just want KidzStuff to be a staple in the community where families know their children are like family to us and that they are safe and loved,” said Kidane. “We are going to do what it takes so that in the long term, they are successful.”

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