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Arlene King

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Arlene King says she was born to help people.

She has done so as a teacher, spiritual leader, social worker, counselor, and mentor.

“Whenever I see a need, I step in,” she says, especially when it comes to women and children. “I want them to reach their full potential.”

King was a teacher at Bethlehem Baptist Academy in East New York for 14 years. She loved teaching, but felt restricted by the system, so in 2005 she started Kings Group Day Care, which she still operates today. With her own business, she is able to do things for people that she couldn’t do while working elsewhere. For example, there have been times when single mothers had compelling circumstances which prevented them from making day care payments, but that didn’t stop King from caring for their children. As a result, these mothers could continue their educations or get to their workplaces. The day care opens at 5:30 am — earlier than many other facilities, she says — to accommodate parents who don’t work traditional 9-to-5 hours. She allows college students to fulfill internships at the day care center, too.

Encouraged by changing so many lives for the better — and wanting to do more — King started a nonprofit organization called Knowing God International Ministries. She is a deeply religious woman, an ordained missionary, who made a commitment to the East New York community by graduating from the New York City Citizen Police Academy. This means she looks out for the safety of her neighbors. They are aware of this, so they feel comfortable sharing concerns with her. As King also has a degree in social work and family counseling, she speaks easily with community members, and is knowledgeable when it comes to getting things done. She has advocated in court for women who have come to her regarding child support and marital issues. She assists with immigration problems. And as a missionary, she offers comfort to those who come to her crying, because they find themselves in overwhelming circumstances.

Presently, King is hosting a dress-making class, teaching women how to make their own clothing.

“They could use this training to start a small business for themselves, if they desire,” she says. “As long as someone is in need, I feel it is my responsibility to help in whatever way possible.”

This includes mentoring people so they can obtain their G.E.Ds.

Perhaps it is King’s upbringing that serves as inspiration. She knows what it’s like to struggle. King was born in Guyana, South America, and says she was “an underprivileged child brought up in a dysfunctional home.” She dropped out of junior high school and would become a teenage unwed mother. But that was a long time ago. King is 62 years old, and immigrated to the United States in 1981. Today, she is happily married, the mother of five daughters. She has nine grandchildren.

She remains in touch with her former supervisor at Bethlehem Baptist Academy, Ava Hazel Bradshaw, who says, “Arlene’s efforts were always exemplary.”

NEIGHBORHOOD:
East New York.

OCCUPATION: Day care owner; nonprofit founder.

COMPANY: Kings Group Day Care, Knowing God International Ministries.

CLAIM TO FAME: Helping people.

FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE AND WHY: Brooklyn Bridge Park. It allows me to see the work of God and man.

WOMAN YOU ADMIRE AND WHY: Corrie ten Boom, a woman of faith and sacrifice.

MOTTO: To walk by faith, and not by sight, and not allow anything or anyone to intimidate me.

Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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