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Caring for MI Future: A Provider’s Passion for Empowering Others

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announcing the Caring for MI Future Plan, which aims to open 1,000 new child care programs by 2024 through a $100 million investment to expand access to child care for working families and support child care providers. To celebrate this milestone, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is highlighting one of the many licensed providers helping nurture Michigan’s next generation.

Finding solutions requires passion - and that’s something Donyeal Sizemore isn’t lacking whatsoever.

A licensed child care home provider at the Building of Learning Child Care in Van Buren Township, Sizemore always knew that a career working with children would be in her future.

"I love when I see children grasping the information that l'm teaching," she explained. "I get children who have not had any educational experience, so they come in not knowing their alphabet, shapes, or colors, and I love seeing them get excited because they have grasped some major concepts. That's my biggest hoorah."

Donyeal Sizemore Portrait

While Sizemore has worked in the child care field for over 31 years, she officially became a licensed home provider in late 2022. She understands that the process of licensure can seem complicated but cites the resources available to current providers by the State of Michigan as a helpful starting point. As a licensee, Sizemore also helps others with the process of becoming licensed.

“I’ll walk with them,” she said warmly, while adding that she’s quick to give her contact information to anyone she meets in public who is interested in child care. Her advice to those unsure about where to get started is to find someone that is already in the field that you can buddy with to better understand the process.

Having spent most of her career in larger centers, Sizemore is now in the process of becoming a group provider, which will allow her to take on more children. She wants to make sure that parents around Michigan know that their children get quality care, regardless of whether it’s in a smaller home setting or at a larger center.

She also acknowledges the current difficulties that are unique to providers, such as staff shortages, long hours, and compensation. But for her, that’s where passion comes back into the picture.

“It has to be something that you want to do, something that you’re willing to do, something that makes you happy daily,” Sizemore said. “The process may seem hard, but once you start, it becomes easier.”

With challenges, however, come opportunity, and Donyeal Sizemore is confident that the child care landscape can strengthen with more passionate licensed providers.

“I want a person to be able to go to work and feel that their child is in a safe and nurturing environment,” she explained. “I’m just glad to be part of the program.”

LARA’s Our Strong Start program offers a team of trained navigators ready to connect child care entrepreneurs with grant opportunities and assistance, addressing questions and concerns about starting or expanding their child care business. Visit the Caring for MI Future webpage to connect with a navigator today.