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Gratitude from Head to Toe

Child Learning Providers use inspiration from former teachers

Claudia Corona Nieto, Norma Guzman, Maribel Serrano and Noemi Laurel Zavala.

From left to right: Claudia Corona Nieto, Norma Guzman, Maribel Serrano and Noemi Laurel Zavala.

Inspiration can stem from any life experience, including time in a classroom. The Child Learning Providers at the Learning Community Center, a partnership between OneWorld and the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, motivate the children they work with through creativity and kindness just as their own teachers did for them.

Before they became employees at the LCC, Claudia Corona Nieto, Norma Guzman, Noemi Laurel Zavala and Maribel Serrano were parent participants in the comprehensive, two-generational program. Today they incorporate the lessons they learned from their LCC teachers to future generations of students.

“I love caring for the children,” said Maribel Serrano. “It’s very special to work here because I’ve always said the Center has given me so much support while I was a participant and now I’m able to give back a little bit of what they gave me.”

During the day, the child providers sing, dance, paint and give many hugs to the babies and young children at the LCC to support their early childhood learning.

“When I was a participant I brought my children every day,” said Claudia. “Their providers helped them learn English and Spanish, prepared them for school and really gave them the mentality that they can do anything. My kids benefitted in the same ways I did and I love that now I get to help give children confidence.”

To be a Child Learning Provider, the LCC trains employees on a variety of early childhood topics including child abuse, developmental disabilities and safe sleep. Mindfulness courses are also included in training.

In addition to working at the LCC, the four women are studying for their GED. Norma said she is able to pursue her GED because of her child provider position.

“I previously had to have two jobs, but now I only have to have one job,” Norma said. “When my husband had some health issues, I never had to worry. I was able to take time off and care for him. I know everyone at the LCC cares for me as a person and I’m so grateful to be able to have time to study and spend time with my kids.”

Noemi’s time as an LCC student inspired her dream of being a teacher’s assistant because of all of the doors of opportunity her teachers opened for her.

“My teachers encouraged me and always told me that I would achieve my goals,” said Noemi. “Sometimes I thought I couldn’t learn English, but all of my teachers reminded me of how hard I had worked to get to where I was and that motivated me to keep going. I can’t put it into words and sometimes I still can’t believe where I am today. I’m so glad I can continue to grow as a person for myself and for my family.”

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