The connection between a child and a teacher can make all the difference in the world. At least that’s what Priscila Araujo believes. Priscila is a teacher assistant at one of CDR’s First Steps Child Care & Development Centers, and she’s seen firsthand how young children can thrive and grow in a nurturing and caring environment.
A relatively new member to the CDR team, Priscila knows that the best way to serve a child is through teamwork. For proof, she need look no further than the story of little Jahleel.
“Jahleel is a sweet little boy,” says Priscila. “But when I first met him he would not make eye contact or even say a word. He would stare down at the ground and play in his own little world.”
Helping Jahleel break out of his shell and share his thoughts and feelings was a challenge for Priscila and other members of CDR’s Early Head Start program. But they never gave up on him and slowly, as his hesitation and fear turned to trust, Jahleel began to change.
“We are so happy at how far he has come,” Priscila says. “We introduced some serious music time, and little by little he started to come out of his shell. We play dress-up together, play instruments, and share a whole lot of giggles and fun and silly moments.”
Priscila says Jahleel didn’t pay attention to anyone at first, but with some reassurance he began to join the other children. “Today he tells me stories, dances, plays with his friends, makes choices on what he wants… Even his tantrums make me happy because I know that he is finally expresssing his feelings,” Priscila says. “Jahleel presented us with challenges, and we overcame them together.”
Asked about her work at CDR, Priscila says, “This is probably one of the hardest, most challenging and delightful jobs I have ever had, and I feel extremely proud and blessed to play a role in these children’s lives… Thanks to CDR, I can say that I make a difference in this world.”