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Allison Perkins-Caldwell

Allison Perkins-Caldwell is the CEO and founder of Allison’s Infant & Toddler Centers, University Childcare, Little Feet Big Dreams Learning Academy, and Baby Cakes Learning Academy. She received a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, with a minor in Psychology, from Chicago State University. In 2011, she obtained a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Early Childhood Education from The University of Illinois at Chicago. Mrs. Caldwell believes in the lasting benefits of continued education and plans to pursue her PHD in Non-Profit Management beginning in 2023.

In the early 2000’s, Allison saw a news item about the violence plaguing the Englewood community, changing her life’s mission forever. Having served her country for eight years in the Army National Guard, she was intimately aware of the importance of protection and caregiving for others. The news report reflected a new perspective about the community she was born and raised in, one where her memories didn’t align with the plight escalating in Englewood. Allison knew that to help improve a community’s mindset, every solution began with its youth. She committed to taking resolute action, and in November 2004, Allison’s Infant and Toddler Center in Englewood opened its doors.   

As gun violence escalated around her, Allison decided it was her time to reach out to more youngsters, so she expanded into the Roseland community. It was an incredibly challenging time, when the center was forced to close early on many occasions because of gang warfare. Despite these scary challenges, she remained dedicated to the well-being of Roseland’s youngest residents and persisted despite balancing a full load on her shoulders. She was still working throughout the city of Chicago as a Registered Nurse, managing two childcare centers, volunteering in the community, and caring for ailing parents. This tsunami of responsibility pushed her to step out on faith and walk away from the Nursing profession that she loved. Being dedicated to her community activism and outreach became her life calling, and so Allison transitioned to working fulltime in her centers and supporting her parents.  In retrospect, it was the best decision she ever made, paving the way for community evolution and changing the trajectory of her life.

Another exciting opportunity for expansion came in the Greater Grand Crossing/Park Manor area in 2010. Allison was offered the chance to combine her medical training with education. She partnered with her alderman and prominent members of the community to host health fairs and town hall meetings. In full belief that her schools were of the utmost importance and at the epicenter of the communities they served, Allison became a true advocate for her convictions. She joined local community boards, chambers of commerce, public forums, and began developing partnerships with other organizations. She spearheaded a growing army of support that allowed the community to pool resources and utilize talents in a way that hadn’t been attempted before. Fighting for early-childhood education became a cause that set precedence for the future of Chicago’s children. 

In 2018, Allison expanded into the Woodlawn community with The University Childcare of Chicago, and this led to the opportunity of opening Baby Cakes Learning Academy in Augusta, Georgia. By 2020, the demand for more choices in higher quality childcare inspired Allison to open Little Feet Big Dreams in Monee, Illinois. Casting a wider net over Chicagoland and the country allowed Allison to make a larger impact on children aged six weeks to 12 years. Her advocacy and determination allowed her to come full circle.

Over the last eighteen years, Allison’s centers continue to expand, with locations being NAEYC accredited and receiving the coveted Gold Rating. NAEYC accreditation marks the highest caliber in a childcare center, proving it has met the highest standards for early childhood education in the nation. A Gold Rating is equally significant in the State of Illinois. It acknowledges the performance of a childcare center and signifies the highest level of quality. Her centers have received the Award of Excellence for Family and Community Partnerships from the Governor’s Office. This Award of Excellence is the highest recognition of quality that a childcare center can receive in the State of Illinois.

This children’s advocate has never lost sight of the community she treasures. Allison’s Infant & Toddler Center has several programs for underserved youth such as:
 

Head Start

Early Head Start

Preschool for All

Prevention Initiative

Head Start Home Visiting

Early Head Start Home Visiting

Child and Adult Care Food Program

She continues to be an advocate and has received impressive degrees, accolades, grants and awards for her work with children and families:

  • Professional Registered Nurse

  • Infant Toddler Specialist (Level 5)

  • Professional Educator’s License – ECE

  • Level 5 Early Childhood Education credentials

  • Level III Family Engagement Specialist credentials

  • Level II Director’s credentials

  • Type 73 accreditation as an Illinois School Counselor

  • The Council of Professional Recognition (Washington, DC) as a  Professional Development Specialist

  • Instructor of a Child Development Associate’s course

  • Is personally responsible for over 100 educators becoming nationally certified to work in all 50 states.

  • Proven relationships with suburban and Chicagoland social service and community groups.

  • Serves on the CCRE Advisory Council

  • Is a board member of the Imani Pearls Community Development Foundation

  • Former Vice President of Southeast Childcare Association

  • Active steering committee member of Childcare Advocates Unite

  • Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated

  • Served in several elected positions of the Chi Omega Omega Chapter

  • Teen-Advisor for Top Ladies of Distinction Evergreen Park Chapter

  • Life member of the NAACP

  • Published Author

  • Future PhD in Non-Profit Management

  • Franchise Owner


Allison has established active partnerships and received funding from:

  • Department of Family Support Services

  • Easter Seals Metropolitan

  • Henry Booth House

  • Chicago Public Schools


Allison continues to uphold her ideals and advocates to children around our nation and our world, sharing her passion for advocacy with her beautiful family. She has been married for nineteen years to Gawain Caldwell, and they have four children: Scott, William, Autumn, and Jackson.

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