In a Time of Crisis: I am WAGE$ with Verma Ellis

Verma Ellis

Verma Ellis is fairly new to the Child Care WAGE$® Program, but it has already made a significant difference in her life. After suffering damage to her home due to Hurricane Florence in 2018, Verma has used WAGE$ to help make essential repairs.

Verma said, “The WAGE$ money will help me get a roof over my trailer and get me and my two girls out of the camper that we are calling home. We are not back in the trailer yet. I’m saving money and fixing things up as I can, but WAGE$ is going to make that possible. It also helps me get food and school clothes for my girls.”

Following soon after the hurricane, Verma, like all early educators, has been dealing with the ramifications of COVID-19 — one crisis after another. She feels lucky, though. Her five-star child care program, Little Blessings Childcare in Craven County, has remained open for most of the time since the pandemic began. She says that the bonuses issued by the Division of Child Development and Early Education really helped the teachers in her site, and that without WAGE$, she would not be able to provide school clothes or fix up her home. She said WAGE$ even helped her get to work when she was having car problems. “If your car doesn’t work, you can’t,” Verma said.

Her path to the field wasn’t an easy one, though. Verma had to overcome personal learning difficulties and reduced confidence when some people in her life told her she wouldn’t succeed in college. But other family and friends encouraged her. With a growing interest in children that resulted from having her own, she pursued an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and she graduated in 2016. She had critical support from her teachers and her child care program.

Verma said, “If it wasn’t for my teachers, especially Mr. Neil Callahan at Pamlico Community College, I don’t know where I’d be. I have learned a lot from him and from my boss. They help me get through the stress and trying to learn different ways to teach each child.” Education expanded her knowledge of young children and her self-confidence grew. She said, “Mr. Callahan really made an impression on me and I want to do the same for my kids.”

Verma is happy to be working in early childhood despite the challenges she has faced. She said, “I love my child care program. Early education is a constant learning process, making sure that you are always helping the children as individuals. I just want the best for these kids and for this center.”

As Verma continues to provide consistent care in her child care program, WAGE$ will hopefully be an ongoing support, helping her face a time of crisis and realize her goal of returning to her home.