When my husband, Donny, and I became Primrose Franchise Owners in 2011, we wanted to positively impact our community, which is in the town of Rowlett (a suburb of Dallas). I have a background in early education and always dreamed of owning my own school. When we were initially looking for ways to make this dream a reality, we were immediately drawn to Primrose Schools because of its mission-based philosophy of creating a brighter future for all children. Every day, we work hard to make sure Primrose School of Rowlett feels like a family ̶ we give our teachers the best professional development opportunities and engage parents and students so they know we are their partner in and outside of the school. Our job is to build an educational foundation that will spark a lifelong love of learning for the children in our school. But little did we know, just after Christmas 2015, we’d be helping to build foundations of a totally different kind.
On Dec. 26, 2015, a deadly EF4 tornado ripped through our town and neighboring cities. Once it was safe to leave our home, we jumped in our truck and started checking on Primrose families impacted by the storm. To us, our Primrose parents and students are our family. We saw an immediate need with nearly a quarter of our families and staff directly impacted, so we wanted to make sure our staff, parents, and children had the help they needed. Some completely lost their homes. We tried to help find places for them to stay, food to eat, and clothing and basic essentials to fill the void.
Our school director, Erika Singleton, also dove headfirst into the relief efforts – reaching out to families on social media and through email. Thanks to her outreach, donations started pouring in for both families at our school and the entire community. Within days, the school became a distribution center of sorts, and we started collecting and storing all kinds of supplies that we would take to churches and shelters where people could pick up what they needed.
In her outreach efforts on social media, Erika also heard from the School Leadership Team at Primrose School of Stone Brooke. This school located nearly an hour away in McKinney, TX felt called to provide assistance to a fellow Primrose school in need. They set up a donation site to collect resources and actually brought a Kindergarten class to deliver donations and supplies to our distribution center at the school. We were especially touched by this gesture of service from another Primrose partner, and it just goes to show that the Primrose spirit of caring and giving is something that goes so far beyond the walls of our school.
While everyone in the area is still reeling from the effects of the tornado, we’ve made progress. And since the storm, we’ve received “thank yous” from so many people. Whether it was our team in Primrose shirts dropping goods off at the church or community members coming to pick up supplies from the school, the people of Rowlett now know that Primrose truly cares about our town. Helping families is second nature to Donny and me as Primrose Franchise Owners, and we feel so grateful that our work allowed us to serve Rowlett in a way that probably isn’t possible in many careers.
I believe that the old adage is true - it takes a village. Through our work with Primrose Schools, we’ve seen first-hand how our village of families rallies around each other in difficult times. It’s such a treasure to find a career these days that truly touches your heart every day. While Dec. 26 was a tragic event in our lives, we feel blessed to be in a position to help our Primrose family and the extended Rowlett family. Together, we’re reinforcing our commitment to the Primrose mission to provide an excellent foundation for all children while we help rebuild our town.