For the past 35 years, Eladia Causil-Rodriguez has served Brooklyn by providing infant care and early childhood education at her day care, Eladia’s Kids. The mother of four came to the city from Colombia in 1969, and was impressed even then to “find that Brooklyn was a diverse community of people of all different styles.”
Causil-Rodriguez was a very protective mother to her four children, but took issue with those who felt kids couldn’t understand much of the world around them, and shouldn’t be trusted to make their own decisions. In 1980, she started an informal playgroup in her home. Before long, that blossomed into Eladia’s Kids, a public day care on Flatbush Avenue.
Eladia’s Kids believes that kids are full human beings with the responsibility to make good choices, with teachers there to guide, not punish, them. Causil-Rodriguez said she knew from raising her own children that they soaked up everything about their environment from the moment they were born. They could learn from their mistakes what to do next in a situation, if only they were provided a safe environment, without harsh reprimands.
“My major commitment was to the children; I wanted them to be the center of the universe, to give them what they needed in the absence of their parents,” said Causil-Rodriguez. “When they were with me, they were happy, safe, and secure. This is not just about day care; we have to keep these little people happy so they feel comfortable and free to be themselves.”
After her children grew up and graduated from college, some returned to help Causil-Rodriguez with the business. Today, her family operation boasts four Brooklyn locations — with a new branch planned in Dumbo — offering day care and preschool for kids 3 months to 5 years old.
“Eladia’s success story is an inspiring one for women, mothers, and immigrants. She built a growing business out of her passion for children and their well-being, and took a hands-on approach in order to overcome the challenges of expanding her facilities across Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Chamber President and CEO Andrew Hoan. “My wife and I trusted her with our own son, Theo, because she truly cares for each and every one of her students and staff as if they were her own family. Eladia’s way is the Brooklyn way.”
Although this Woman of Distinction could easily retire and spend her days traveling, she continues to work, saying, “when I visit my schools and see those little faces, I know I’m helping create great kids and good human beings. Now, my own kids are running things and tell me exactly what’s happening, but I’m still completely in control of the company. I love what I do, and what I created.”
“Eladia is a truly great New York immigrant success story — rising up from humble beginnings to found one of the highest-rated day care centers in Brooklyn,” said Carlo A. Scissura, Esq., President and CEO, New York Building Congress. “She embodies the American dream and deserves all the success she has achieved. Here’s to another 100 years for ‘La Reina’ of Brooklyn!”
NEIGHBORHOOD: Park Slope.
OCCUPATION: Chief executive officer and founder of early childhood education center.
COMPANY: Eladia’s Kids.
CLAIM TO FAME: Mother of four who now runs four Brooklyn day-care centers.
FAVORITE BROOKLYN PLACE: Walking around Park Slope and going to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
WOMEN I ADMIRE: My mother. She gave me the strength to be truthful and to believe in myself, and used to tell me when I was a child, “Never start your day bad. Wear the best dress you have and go out like nothing’s missing.”
MOTTO: “Stand for your dreams, no matter what. If you believe in yourself, you will never fail.”