When I was nine, my mother went back to school to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Just a few year earlier, she and my father went through a tough divorce, and she was left as the primary guardian of me and my two older brothers. Even as a kid, I understood the magnitude of her decision to go back to school. I knew she had to overcome naysayers, self-doubt and the financial uncertainty of pursuing a degree while working full-time and raising three kids. My own mother’s choice to achieve her dreams not only changed the opportunities available to me and my brothers, it motivated me to pursue my own dreams. When I heard Lynquay Sanford’s story of similar fortitude and grit for her own children, I knew I had to talk to her to learn more.
1. Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live? How would people who know you describe you?
My name is Lynquay Sanford, and I was born and raised in Queens, NY. I currently reside in Wendell, NC. People would describe me as being very straight forward, funny, strong-willed, caring, loving, and a great friend and motivator. I am always open to new ideas. I am also a great mother to my children.
2.What made you decide to go back to school?
I opened a Family Child Care Home because I wasn’t satisfied with the child care centers in my area that my son attended. I wanted to learn more about how I can help preschool children and bring quality education to my Family Child Care Home. I started off by taking one class that is required to operate a Family Child Care Home. I liked it so much that I decided to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education.
3. What were you doing before you decided to go back to school?
I was an EMT and I worked at a level one trauma center in Raleigh, NC dispatching helicopters and transport ambulances.
4. How did you prepare to get your degree? For example, internships, certifications, application process. How much time did it take?
I received my Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education in December 2015. I will continue on to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Early Care and Education and or Human Development and Family Service. What prepared me for this was operating my Family Child Care Home. I stepped out on faith and started my childcare business. It may take me three years to receive my Bachelor’s degree as I will be taking classes online and at my own pace. The cost of pursing any degree is expensive; however, I’ve graduated debt free because I had a scholarship to attend school. I will also be on a scholarship when I return to school the fall of 2017.
5. What do you plan to do with/have you done with your degree?
My plan is to expand my Child Care home and open a Child Care Center and or ½ day preschool.
“I was going through a very difficult divorce and working 7 days a week the last two years of me being in school. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel many times, but I couldn’t help but look at my children, especially my daughter, to show them no matter how tough life gets never give up.”
6. Who was your biggest inspiration? Mentors? Family? Friends?
I have so many people that have inspired me into going back to school. I was introduced to a group of ladies, all African American, who owned child care centers and family child care homes. They inspired me to stay in school and obtain my degree. My child care consultant also stayed on me to stay in school. I also come from a long line of strong black females, including my mother, grandmother and aunt, that inspired me to follow my dreams.
7. What was your biggest motivation? In other words, what kept you going?
My children kept me going. I also had the support of my mother and close friends who stepped in to help me with my children while I attended school at night.
8. Did you experience any setbacks? How did you overcome them?
Yes, I had many setbacks. I was going through a very difficult divorce and working 7 days a week the last two years of me being in school. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel many times but I couldn’t help but look at my children, especially my daughter, to show them no matter how tough life gets never give up. Just take your time pray about what you are going through and keep on moving. I tell them all the time that God does not give you or put you through anything he thinks you cannot handle.
9. If you had a chance to go back in time and speak to your 15 year old self, a) would she be surprised to see where you are now? b) what would you say to her?
Surprised? Yes! I thought I wanted to be a Veterinarian. I did not know anything about owning anything at that age. I would tell my 15 year old self to stay head strong and that she can do anything she puts her mind to. I would tell her that she is stronger than she thinks she is.
“Don’t let people change your mind or put doubt in your mind. Surround yourself with people who will push you and not distract you from pursing your dreams.”
10. What advice would you give to someone thinking about going back to school or going after any dream?
Do it. Don’t let people change your mind or put doubt in your mind. Surround yourself with people who will push you and not distract you from pursing your dreams. Surround yourself with people who will be honest with you when you have those weak moments from pursuing your dreams. Also, know that it will not be easy but if you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. Success does not happen overnight.
11. Any long term goals or dreams?
My long term goal is to stop working 7 days a week. My dream is to have several child care centers and half-day preschools that will service low income families and families with special needs children.
Check out Lynquay’s Family Child Care Home, Open Arms Daycare here.
About The Author
Faye McCray is an attorney by day and writer all the time. Her work has been featured on My Brown Baby, AfroPunk, AfroNews, For Harriet, Madame Noire, Black Girl Nerds, Black and Married with Kids, and other popular publications. Faye also has a number of short stories and a full length novel available for purchase on Amazon. Most importantly, Faye is a proud wife and mother to three beautiful and talented young boys who she is fiercely passionate about raising. You can find Faye on Twitter @fayewrites and on the web at fayemccray.com.