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 former teacher assistant at one of CDR’s First Steps Child Care & Development Centers, and while employed at CDR she saw firsthand how young children can thrive and grow in a nurturing and caring environment.
When she was a new member to the CDR team, Priscila observed that the best way to serve a child is through teamwork, and it was through teamwork that she and her former coworkers helped a sweet little boy named Jahleel.
“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 introduced some serious music time, and little by little he started to come out of his shell. We played dress-up together, played instruments, and shared 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. “One day he started to tell me stories, and he made choices on what he wanted. He played with friends and was having fun. Even when he had a tantrum it made me happy because I knew that he was finally expressing his feelings,” Priscila says. “Jahleel presented us with challenges, and we overcame them together.”
Asked about her work at CDR, Priscila says, “My job at CDR was probably one of the hardest, most challenging and delightful jobs I have ever had, and I feel extremely proud and blessed to have played a role in these children’s lives… Thanks to CDR, I can say that I made a difference in this world.”