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All in the family

Posted July 24, 2013 in Altoona, Community Featured
For Debi and Niki Scharf, working together in a childcare setting has been a dream come true.

For Debi and Niki Scharf, working together in a childcare setting has been a dream come true.

Christian-based Altoona’s Best Childcare, was started in March 2012 out of personal desperation by the mother and daughter team of Debi and Niki Scharf.

Debi was determined to have grandchildren around, and Niki was determined not to have kids just yet. A compromise was met, and the two worked together to start a daycare center.

For Niki, this is great practice and experience while she is working to get her teaching certification. As for Debi, she has a houseful of little ones to dote over. It’s a definite win-win situation.

“It fills a void,” Debi says. “And we thought we could this together.”

There is another aspect of the daycare that makes it a winning situation for Debi. Several years ago Debi was paralyzed. In 2011 a portion of her right leg was amputated, and she felt very self conscious about the loss of a limb. Soon after that, a close friend of hers passed away, and Debi decided it was time to follow her passion and open the in-home childcare center.

“It was very nerve-wracking when we were interviewing (parents) because I wasn’t used to people seeing me with one leg,” Debi says.” I was worried they’d think I wasn’t competent to take care of their kids, but I know the families that we have never took a second look.”

Debi can now laugh a bit about the occasional mishaps, but she has found that she is perfectly capable of keeping up with a houseful of kids.

Overall, Debi has 20 years experience working with kids, but Altoona’s Best Daycare has to be active for another year before it can be a registered daycare. Debi says she has no intentions of becoming a licensed daycare because the paperwork is more than she wants to do for the small center she plans to have.

“That’s not why I’m doing this,” she says of the required papers to become a larger center.

As far as having a business as a mother/daughter team, Niki says they had to really learn tow work together and respect each other’s boundaries.

“It’s a lot more work than either one of us realized,” Deb says, “but it’s been wonderful.”

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