This is the eighth of an eight-part series profiling the 2016 Outstanding Women of Clinton County. Tickets for the luncheon event — to be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 5 at the Roberts Centre — are $25 (cash or check accepted; make check payable to “OWCC”). Reservations can be made at the Wilmington News Journal, 761 S. Nelson Ave., Wilmington, OH 45177. The News Journal’s office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. If you have any questions, please call 937-382-2574. Reservations will be accepted through March 1. Julie Isphording will be the guest speaker. Julie ran the first ever women’s Olympic Marathon in 1984; she is an award-winning syndicated radio host, national keynote speaker and magazine columnist.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to a production error, Ms. Wilson-Belle’s photo and the OWCC logo did not appear in Saturday’s print edition of the News Journal. We apologize for the omission and we will-re-run the story correctly Tuesday.
Hope Renee Wilson-Belle is proud to admit it. Like so many, this inductee to the Outstanding Women of Clinton County class of 2016 was a single teenage mom. Despite that fact, she completed high school, earned a Bachelor’s degree, married and continued to mother her three children, had a successful career, retired, started her own daycare service, and continues to serve the children and mothers of Clinton County and the surrounding area.
According to nominator Tamara Rollins, Wilson-Belle freely, and even gladly, shares her adolescent life experience when speaking as a volunteer to community mentoring programs, promoting teen pregnancy prevention and life skills planning, encouraging at-risk youth to set and attain their goals while above all respecting themselves and others. Her motto is, appropriately, “If I can make it as a teen mom, so can you!”
A lifelong resident of Wilmington, Wilson-Belle graduated in 1979 from Wilmington High School, where she had been a member of the WHS Marching Band and girls varsity basketball team (she was MVP in her senior year). In 1984, she earned a B.A. in economics and business administration from Wilmington College, leading to a 22-year career at Airborne Express — from part-time sorter to full-time supervisor to area manager to director over multiple sort operations.
In 1991, Wilson-Belle organized the “Proud to Be Me Steppers” Drill Team for the youth of Clinton County, personally training girls and boys to march, drill, and drum not only at local parades and basketball games, but also in drill-team competitions outside the state.
A much-needed service to local working parents came when Wilson-Belle opened a daycare in her home in 1998. As the business grew, she was able to offer jobs to unemployed women. The business was expanded in 2007 to a “Type A” level, which allowed her to serve the child-care needs of local families on a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week basis.
In 2009, a second location was opened, and in January, 2012, the “Academy” moved to its present Park Drive location, where it is licensed to serve 97 children. A preschool curriculum is now provided and a “Head Start” program for infants/toddlers has recently been implemented. In addition, a new location, named in honor of Wilson-Belle’s father, is projected to open soon on Clinton Street.
In conjunction with her daycare activities, Wilson-Belle has completed extensive training in daycare management, food programs, early childhood education, and child abuse awareness and prevention. She has also served on the Outstanding Women of Clinton Count board and the Laurel Oaks Early Childhood Education Board.
Currently a member of the Solid Rock Church of Monroe, Ohio, she has taught a class on Life Skills for the CORE (Center of Restoration and Empowerment) Program of the Restored Life Ministries in Springfield, Ohio meeting on a weekly basis with individuals facing unemployment, poverty, addiction, and other life challenges. Her consistent message to troubled youth and adults is “keep hope alive”— a message that over the years has helped so many identify and develop their own life-changing abilities.