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Love Drives daycare plans debut in Dover

Delaware couple hopes to expand business with third location

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
Owners of Love Drives Roderick and Melodie Morris with their kids Remi Isabella (left) and McKenzie (right).

This story has been updated after the Aug. 17 Dover Planning Commission meeting. 

A married couple from Lincoln, Delaware, Roderick and Melodie Morris, started a daycare business out of their home in 2015. Both childcare professionals with more than 15 combined years of experience, they saw a need in their community.

Roderick Morris said they often saw families leaving their children with family members, and he worried that those kids might not be learning as much as they could. He and his wife wanted to find a way to better support those kids, especially those in lower income communities. 

“We felt like it was affecting their growth and development,” he said. “This was our way of doing our small part of doing something about it.”

Since then, their business, Love Drives, has grown with a location in Lincoln and Georgetown. They are now looking to expand to Dover at 151 Greenhill Ave., near White Oak Road and Route 13.

“Our mission is to provide a safe, stimulating and loving environment for all the children and families that we serve, and we’re looking to bring that environment to Dover,” Morris said. “We’ve lived here all our lives and we’re looking to make change in our communities.”

They applied for a conditional use permit to convert the one-story home into a daycare for 12 children. They presented to the Dover Planning Commission Aug. 17, and the application was approved. With only business permits and licensing requirements left, this means Love Drives can move forward in Dover.

While a few neighbors expressed concern about a possible increase in traffic or noise, the members of the planning commission only noted that they will review the application again if any complaints arise. 

Love Drives offers age-appropriate curriculum and upholds the philosophy that “children learn through play.” They serve kids ages six weeks to 12 years old with the hours of 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Childcare in a pandemic

As a licensed childcare provider in Delaware, Roderick Morris said they face inherent challenges that were exacerbated by the pandemic.

“It’s been very stressful to be open during this time, if I’m being honest,” he said. The biggest challenge for Love Drives is making sure they have enough staff to carry out the state’s health guidelines. “We have to hire two more people just to open the doors,” he said. 

Still, closing wasn’t an option in the owners’ minds, and they have stayed open throughout the pandemic. “Our communities wouldn’t have made it if we close down. We just knew our families would dramatically suffer if we closed,” Morris said. 

While their plans to open in Dover paused after the city offices temporarily closed, things are now back in motion. Morris said “the city of Dover does require a lot of work in order for businesses to come in,” but he said the staff has been helpful in the process.