Northeast Times

Best of the River Wards 2012: Best Local Business Owner

Win­ner: Faith Men­dez, own­er of Star­Light Star­Bright Play and Learn day­care at 2424 Stu­di­os, 2424 E. York St.

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Faith Men­dez in­sists that her win has less to do with her and more to do with the staff she val­ues so deeply.

“We’re not a busi­ness, we’re a fam­ily,” said Men­dez, who said most people know her as  lsquo;Miss Fay.’

When Men­dez star­ted Star­Light Star­Bright Play and Learn al­most two years ago, she said her mo­tiv­a­tion was simple.

“I star­ted it be­cause I love kids,” she said. “You could have all the de­grees in the world, but if you don’t love kids…”

The day­care, which is open to chil­dren six weeks to five years old, brings in chil­dren from many Phil­adelphia neigh­bor­hoods, Men­dez said.

The stu­dio space, now a bust­ling day­care open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days per week, was just a shell be­fore Men­dez took over.

Once Men­dez and her fam­ily mem­bers stepped in—her staff in­cludes four daugh­ters and four nieces, and her young grand­daugh­ter is a day­care stu­dent—she said cre­at­ing a happy en­vir­on­ment was the first or­der of busi­ness.

“You gotta make it fun,” she said of her work. “It takes good par­ents and good people.”

As 12 of the day­care’s stu­dents gradu­ate this month, Men­dez said it breaks her heart to see them go. For her, it’s like say­ing good­bye to fam­ily mem­bers.

“I don’t want it to be ‘best busi­ness own­er’ this year,” she said. “I want it to be ‘fam­ily of the year.’”

Call the day­care cen­ter at 267-455-0588 and vis­it the Face­book page by search­ing for “Star­Light Star­Bright Play and Learn.”

- Mi­kala Jam­is­on

Run­ner Up: Kelly Krecko Al­bano, own­er of Kid­die Garden Day­care with three loc­a­tions. Con­tact at 215-634-2570.

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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