Elaine Purvis of Bennettsville enjoyed her work as an injection press operator at industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation. When the Laurinburg, N.C., plant closed down in July 2008, she said goodbye to a family of coworkers and a job she had known for 20 years.
Fast forward to July 2012, and Purvis proudly stands in a brightly painted room with pint-sized chairs and colorful posters covering every inch of wall space. She is owner and director of Write At Home Learning Daycare, which she operates out of her home in Bennettsville.
Purvis created a new career for herself by going to Northeastern Technical College and earning an Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood.
“I love it! I love owning my own business and being my own boss,” Purvis said with enthusiasm that matches the busy walls and shelves of the playroom that doubles as a learning center for children ages two months to 12 years old. “I wish I’d gone into early childhood education sooner, but it wasn’t the right time.”
The “right time” came 35 years after she’d graduated high school. The thought of going back to school made her nervous and scared, but after much prayer and research into early childhood careers, Purvis enrolled in classes at NETC. She took advantage of the support services offered to students through the Student Support Services program, and she received tutoring when she needed assistance with her accounting classes. She also took part in the many SSS activities such as field trips and on-campus socials.
“I felt like a teenager again,” Purvis said of her college experience. “Thanks to NETC, I was very successful in my studies, and I loved going to school. I had excellent instructors who motivated me to do well and made sure I ‘got it’ before leaving the classroom.”
Purvis made the dean’s list regularly and looked forward to clipping the NETC Honors Lists out of the newspaper at the end of each semester.
Purvis graduated in 2011, and became a licensed daycare operator shortly afterward. Her learning center is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Young children in her care are taught the basics that prepare them for school such as their ABC’s, numbers, shapes and colors. She helps older children with their homework and teaches them good manners. The children also have story time, make crafts and have playground equipment for outdoor activities.
“To run a daycare, you have to love children and be patient and caring,” Purvis said. “You are a parent to these children and are responsible for their development. I don’t let them come here and do nothing, because what they learn in their early years will stick with them forever.”
Purvis has five grown children of her own with husband Ronnie. Her children and her husband were very supportive of her when she decided to go back to school and pursue this new career.
“All of my children had gone to college, but none had finished. When I went back to school, I was a grandmother!” Purvis said. “This motivated all four of my daughters to finish college and get a degree. One of my daughters and I were even in the same class at NETC.”
Purvis is glad to be serving a need for daycare services in her community where many are single working mothers.
“While I enjoyed my job at Eaton, I love what I am doing now,” Purvis said. “NETC was my pathway to this rewarding career and becoming a business owner.”
For more information about career opportunities, call toll free 1-800-921-7399, or visit www.netc.edu and click on the Pathways tab.