Hello!  I am happily married to my husband of thirty-eight years, Odell, and we have two children named Eileen and Marcus.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Chicago State University, and attended Rosary College for my Montessori Diploma for ages 3-5. I chose to work with younger children because of the unique ways they have of expressing their wants and needs as they explore and learn. I appreciate the communication I have with the parents, peers and administration as we become involved in each child's development. I am very passionate about continuing to learn - just as the children are! I am happy to help fulfill the Vision and Mission of Little Inspirations.


I am a mother of three, born and raised on the North side of Chicago. I love watching little minds at work! It’s very rewarding to be a part of children’s lives! I earned my National Childhood Development Associate credential in 2011. I owned and operated a Home Daycare for 15 years - It was a wonderful experience! I am still a kid at heart. I like to jump rope, play on swings, slide down slides and explore the environment around me - this is what drew me to Little Inspirations in June 2013. Little Inspirations offers the greatest way of learning -- through play, touching, observing and experiencing. Fine motor, gross motor, social, cognitive and creative thinking are all large parts of the learning process. Children are free become anything they want to be and it gives me great joy to be a part of their development.


Education: Associate of Arts in General Studies, Pursuing BA in Early Childhood Education.

Why do I teach? The quote by Henry Adams describes it best, “A teacher affects eternity.”

I’ve had the privilege to work with children for more than 20 years. Being a Special Events Child Care Coordinator gave me the challenge of programming developmentally appropriate events for children ages 2 – 12.  The experience of directing puppet camp, and watching children express themselves through acting, singing, and dance was wonderfully fulfilling. In the classroom, working one-on-one with young ones, listening to their thoughts or observing them create stories is inspiring. Seeing a child put together ideas or make a new discovery encourages me or sometimes makes me giggle. The young see things afresh. I enjoy my conversations with young people. My personality and imagination many times matches theirs. I get excited. I laugh. I pour my best into them. I see them learn new words, discover numbers and experience science but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Only time will tell how the moments I spent with them will affect their future. 


My name is Marchay Grays. I was born on May 27th in Chicago, IL. I am extremely honored that I have the opportunity to nurture, encourage, and teach your child. I have always had a passion for Early Childhood Education because birth to age three is the peak for brain development. A child’s early stages not only matter, but they are the most critical in development. I have experience with ages 6 weeks to 6 years old. I began working with children ten years ago and decided to enroll in the Child Development program at Kennedy-King College. I earned my Associate’s Degree, with high honors, in Pre-School Education. I plan to continue my pursuit of my  Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Practice: Infant/Toddler at National Louis University. I am very passionate about Early Childhood Education. I am very patient. I believe that children should be treated with compassion, patience, and respect, regardless of the circumstances. I believe that diversity, social-emotional, and self-expression all play a huge role in a child’s development and tolerance. I am so excited about this new journey! I look forward to building positive relationships with you and your child:)


Hi, my name is Isabella Friehs! I belong to an international family. My older brother, twin brother, and I were adopted from Colombia when we were young, but I have spent most of my life living in Hyde Park, Chicago. I am currently pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. On the path to my degree, I shadowed at Little Inspirations and fell in love with how the center helps children grow and knew that I wanted to work here. I love to dance, sing, do art, go on nature walks, and travel. I have always loved working with children and realized that it was a passion of mine when I started to teach a dance class for young kids, so I decided to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education to turn my passion into a career. I love to see how every child is different in their own ways. I’m excited to help children develop physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively, but am especially excited to incorporate my passion for health and dance in the classroom by helping children develop gross motor skills and learn healthy habits.a team member!


Hi! I’m so excited and grateful to be a part of Little Inspirations. I am currently attending Richard Daley College where I have received my Basic Certificate in Child Development--Preschool.  Now I’m working towards getting my Associate degree in Applied Science in Child Development. I’ve been passionate about Early Childhood Education ever since I was a child. I enjoy the dynamic and exciting opportunities that young children bring.  This career path truly feels like I’ve found what I was meant to do.  Most importantly, my son has made me strive for greatness as I am a role model for future generations.  I find children to be the most genuine and loving human beings and delight in my opportunities to learn with them all day, every day. I am grateful for a chance to work with the teachers, children, and families here at Little Inspirations; it’s like a dream come true!


Hi there! My name is Melinda Paredes. I currently work as an assistant teacher in the East Older Preschool classroom. To expand a bit more on myself, I graduated from Olive Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago in the Summer of 2019 with my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Child Development and plan to pursue my BA in Elementary Education. One of the central reasons why I have chosen to work with children is because I absolutely love watching children grow/develop, especially from infancy/toddler ages up to the middle childhood stage. It’s extremely rewarding to be making a contribution to their success. It’s amazing to see and reflect on children we have formed relationships with as they continue to thrive while moving on from one stage to the next.  I feel that Little Inspirations will be a great experience to learn and grow myself as I work alongside the staff here and get more hands-on experience with children.  I am happy to be on board and look forward to working with the families and children here! In my spare time, I like to plan trips to travel, read, and listen to music!