Hooked On Books Childcare

Driving down Eight Mile Road in Detroit at 5 a.m. on a brutally cold February morning in 1994, Yolanda Massey and her brother had the car heater cranked to fend of sub-zero temps on the way to her brother’s job.  

Yolanda, a 19-year-old college student at the time, sat as passenger and would doze off only to awake to a car accident — the event that would change the trajectory of her life. 

Following the accident, she struggled to retain information and eventually dropped out of school. Unable to explain her challenges and join the workforce, she spent much of her time looking after her young nieces and nephews while seeking educational experiences for them at museums and the Detroit Zoo.  

“They just made me feel better about myself and about my whole situation,” said Massey, who would find out several years later that she suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident and had developed epilepsy.  

Hooked on the Power of Early Education  

Over time, Massey would develop a passion for providing early child care and saw firsthand the transformative power of early childhood education for children six weeks to five years old. She opened Hooked on Books Childcare, an in-home group childcare business in 2015 while also returning to school to earn an associate degree in interior design.   

When COVID hit, and her business received critical pandemic funding to stay solvent, she took the slow down as an opportunity to get certified as a child care director and set her sights on opening a child care center.  

Growing with Support of Small Business Community  

After receiving a grant from Motor City Match, Massey eventually purchased a 1,400-square-foot building on West McNichols in Detroit and put her interior design background to work transforming the vacant building into a vibrant licensed center.   

“It needed a lot of love, including a new roof and plumbing. I had to do a lot of repairs on the building to get it ready for occupancy,” she said.  

After more than two years of renovation, the facility opened in October 2023 complete with a fenced in outdoor play area, interior learning spaces, and a kitchen to prepare nutritious meals. It also has the capacity for up to 28 children, more than double the number she could care for in her home.  

As she’s grown her business, Massey’s received support from several business support organizations, including NEI grantee the Black Business Alliance.  

“If you don’t know, someone else knows, and we help each other with the latest knowledge of technology, finance, and licensing. It helps you keep on top of the changes in the business world,” said Massey.  

She’s attended resource and networking events and met other small business owners and embraced a role in neighborhood revitalization.  

“I would like to help these different neighborhoods that need someone to come and show a little community love and have somewhere for families and young children to go. I really enjoy it, I guess I’m a developer now,” said Scott, who would like to eventually open a second location in Detroit.