From Small Beginnings, a Big Idea Grows

A Northwest woman starts a pre-school from the ground up – with the help of her credit union.

When Angie Garcia was looking for a nurturing daycare experience for her daughter in 2004, she wasn’t satisfied with what she found.  So the experienced early childhood specialist and social worker dared to dream big.

Angie Garcia

“One day on my way home from work, I was riding with my mom because I worked downtown, and I turned to her and I said, what’s stopping me from starting my own?  And she said nothing,” Angie recalls. “So I called the credit union the next morning and said, I want a line of credit on my house, and I want to remodel my basement, and start a preschool.  So I did.”

“She just saw a need in the community, and didn’t just say, hey somebody should do this because the community needs it,” said Justin Olson, Vice President of Member Services at Trailhead Credit Union. “She actually had the idea, and is thriving because of it, and the community is better as a whole.”

And how! Escuela Viva has moved out of Angie’s basement and now occupies a large school building in Southeast Portland. There are up to 100 kids there every day, in an enriching environment that supports them spiritually and academically. They’re learning to be friends. They’re learning to garden, and they’re learning a second language-Spanish or English.

“I believe what makes it special is that, it honors the spirit of the child. If we give them all the tools, they will learn way beyond what we might even expect of them,” Angie notes.

Trailhead Credit Union, to this day, is Angie’s financial services partner.

“Credit unions are able to come in, and fill those little holes that make a huge difference to that small business owner who otherwise, might feel stuck,” said Olson.

Adds Angie, “They’re willing to go places with you, because they know you as a person. You’re not just an account number.”

Nearly everyone is eligible for credit union membership. Find out why 6 million Northwest consumers already belong. Visit www.asmarterchoice.org