Returning to the Classroom:
How a Y Community Partnership Supports Staff
Imagine having the courage to start over again, making yourself vulnerable in a setting that is primarily set up for those half your age. Imagine working a full time job and attending college courses after you’ve supported your own children through a similar journey. Two YMCA employees are doing just that, because now it is their turn. Monica Reynoso and Lynnette Curranare both middle age women who have worked for the Y for a long time, neither of them fully completing their college education. Both the women had children, whom they raised, while working for the non-profit in different capacities. Now, both having almost fully grown children, they are starting to focus on themselves and their own professional development to further their careers and skills. Thanks in part to the Y partnering with the local Nashua Community College (NCC), they have both been given the opportunity to enroll in a free class that will be the first step toward earning their Lead Teacher Certification which not only better prepares them for their work in the Early Education Center (ECC) but allows them to earn a higher wage. Not only do they benefit from both the certification and monetary side effects, both women, and their supervisor, have credited a new functional expertise from the class.
Although Monica has worked in the EEC for 16 years she shared that she is learning so many new skills from her first course, and her supervisor has noticed it as well. Having grown up in the Dominican Republic, Monica’s first language is Spanish, she attended university for two years for psychology, however, her credits did not transfer when she immigrated to the United States.
Lynnette attended College full time for a year right after high school but took time off to work full time and determine what career path she wanted to follow. She was married shortly after and had four children. She has been employed at the Y since 1999 and held positions in a few different areas including the Welcome Center, Aquatics and now the EEC. She received her associate degree in business a few years ago. She will continue her education through NCC taking two more classes this semester and earning her Associate’s Teacher certification in the spring.
Kristie has already seen so much growth in development in the women, especially Monica whom she has known for a long time. Her pride was so apparent as she shared how she’s seen a new found confidence and how Monica has already been applying her newly learned skills to her work. Since English is Monica’s second language, Kristie applauded her courage to seek this opportunity.
It takes courage and vulnerability to take the steps that Monica and Lynnette took, but more importantly they are setting such wonderful examples for not just their own children but young peers they work with. Hopefully this will encourage others to take that first step as well, after all it’s never too late to start.
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