When Terressa Brown was growing up in Annapolis, Maryland, she loved children. Brown took care of her two little sisters. By the time she was 12 years old, an opportunity to babysit for pay planted a seed in Brown that blossomed into something bigger. Taking care of children became the Odenton resident’s official business. She grew up to become Chief Executive Officer of Ms. T’s Helping Hands LLC where children can play, learn, and grow together.
“I met a mom, and she needed help for her three children. And I said, ‘sure,’” Brown said. “I used to work in Hospitality Management, and even when I was doing that, I was still babysitting after I got off at three o’clock. I was doing evenings and date nights, so when I started Ms. T’s Helping Hands, it was literally just myself.”
Brown offers a nanny placement agency for parents who want to place a nanny in their home.
“We have a one-time fee, and we do all the legwork to place a nanny,” Brown said. “We also have a babysitting service. They [parents] just submit an application, tell us about their family, what they’re looking for, and then we have a host of sitters, and we would send them out to their home.”
Brown explained that services are provided in the comfort of clients’ homes throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia for date nights; after-school care; birthday party needs when extra hands are needed; and for reasons such as providing childcare during church services; company parties and holiday parties. Crafts and games are also brought on-site to entertain kids. Some parents also want babysitters to take their children to movies or to help kids with their schoolwork.
Fifteen childcare providers work in Brown’s network. Some of them are teachers, women who work at daycare centers, and nannies. Each babysitter Brown uses is background checked and becomes CPR and first aid certified.
Not every parent has fared well when it comes to having suitable childcare during the pandemic. American Academy of Pediatrics published pediatric perspectives authored by Colleen Kelly, MD and Arvin Garg, MD, MPH. The article mentioned that school closures due to COVID-19 even resulted in older children needing supervision throughout the day. As a result, parents were “forced to consider childcare arrangements that may not best align with the needs of their family.” High-quality childcare was nearly inaccessible for some families, according to the article.
Brown’s business grew during the pandemic. One reason why Brown became very busy is because some parents needed assistance helping students with their educational needs while working themselves. Ms. T’s Helping Hands LLC was able to step in. Her new venture called Tots Of Fun offers mobile soft play packages for children six and under. Items such as a moon bounce, soft blocks, and foam tile flooring are brought to customers.
Although Brown stays busy building her small business, she makes time to support children and families in the community. The entrepreneur is busy preparing to host the 1st Annual Merry Little Christmas Party on December 22, 2022, from 7- 8:30 p.m., located at Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library. The address is 1410 West St. in Annapolis.
“We will have a Santa Claus who will come and take pictures with the children and pass out gifts to each child that is pre-registered,” Brown said.
Pre-registering will help to ensure that enough toys will be available for children. Free food, arts & crafts and more will also be provided during the free event. Shelley’s House—an organization that provides workshops, resources, and assistance to homeless and underserved youth— partnered with Brown. Sheretha Moore serves as the executive director.
Moore and Brown combined connections and resources to make the upcoming event possible. Toys for Tots is also participating to provide some toys for youth who attend the party that is geared toward children who are ages 12 and under. Brown explained that she and Moore will be covering the cost of additional toys for guests if it is needed.
Brown also noted that Christmas is a hard time for some families who may be experiencing financial hardships or loss of a loved one. Bringing holiday cheer in her hometown makes her feel great.
“We just decided to do this as a way to give back,” Brown said, referring to her partnership to brighten up the Christmas season for youth along with Moore.
Individuals who are interested in registering their children for the party by December 18, 2022, should email [email protected] A confirmation will be emailed. Learn more about Brown’s businesses by visiting https://mstshelpinghands.org/.