Servant's Heart

18 Sept 2019 By Tiffany Martinez and Metoya Scott

To understand Puerto Rico's prehistoric era, it is important to know that the Taínos contributed significantly to everyday life and language as the earliest inhabitants of Puerto Rico. Gender roles among the Taíno were relatively non-exclusive. Women served as warriors. Visionaries for equality, Taíno women were caciques-- tribal chiefs in the early 1500s. She attributes being resilient, driven, and a natural caretaker to her Puerto Rican ancestry. It's evident in the way Tiffany Martinez speaks about Cool Spring Clubhouse that this spirit transcends in her work. Rather than work, I should say life. She calls herself "Auntie Tiff" to the children who are under her care. "I am frequently the first person mom's trust with their children." Working 12 hour days, Tiffany struggled with finding trustworthy-reliable care for her own kids. A frustrated single mom with limited support in the area she had to face a decision that's very common for parents, do I prioritize providing for my kids or taking care of my kids. It's not just childcare she provides its self-care. "Sometimes having your kids with you 24/7, you can't focus on you." As a veteran-owned business, she realizes the anxiety that comes with finding adequate childcare while relocating to a different duty station.

Tiffany collaborates with My Beloved Marriage Ministry by donating free childcare at Cool Spring Clubhouse for date nights as a part of their marriage counseling and workshops, "People don't realize how important it is for your mental health, for your marriage, that you still date your spouse. Family is important but so it one on one time with your spouse, especially during the reintegration period. Often married couples forget to date each other, that is very important to keeping a marriage healthy."

Tiffany recognizes the trauma that kids also experience when in a new environment. Sometimes parents find difficultly properly redirecting the feelings of their child, and Tiffany is a willing conduit, relieving families of distress. She incorporates activities that enable her mini clients to cope with their feelings; frequently focusing on social and emotional learning by utilizing arts and dancing. Books N' Bops will choreograph a dance to go along with the story that they read together.

Tiffany supports her fellow downtown businesses however way she can. Once checked into Cool Spring Clubhouse, the kids use a custom wooden slide build by Cornerstone to happily enter the gated play center. Yoga and exercising activities are provided to her mini patrons by various downtown fitness instructors. Her patronage with her neighbors is how Praise NOW! was born. It began with a visit and a conversation to In His Presence Café & Bookstore with the owners. That conversation led to the Praise NOW! The event was supported by several downtown businesses, which is a true testament to the connectivity Tiffany brings to the community. "I'm an aunt to the kids that visit my Clubhouse, and my neighboring merchants are my brothers and sisters."