Recipient and Sponsor Testimonials

m.banoubIt is a pleasure and an honor for me to be this month’s graduate feature. My name is Mariam Banoub, I’m married and I have two teenage children. I am the administrator and the owner of Happy Kids Academy Learning Center on Old Baltimore Pike. I love to go to work every day so I can meet with the children, staff and parents. It’s a pleasure for me to be a part of their lives and to be the leader for my team.

I have been in the Early Childhood profession since 1989.  I obtained an Engineering Survey degree 25 years ago, however, I chose to pursue Early Childhood field. To understand the early childhood field better I decided with my husband’s support and encouragement to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education regardless of my very busy personal and business life. I began my education at Delaware Technical Community College and earned my associate degree. Then I went to Wilmington University and I have just graduated with the class of 2017 a month ago.

During my study, I was caring for my two children with my husband and supervising two childcare centers.  I earned A’s in most of my classes. However, a while later, class and book fees got expensive and I stopped classes. Then, a couple years ago I was reading about the TEACH program and I deiced to make a phone call and ask some questions. I am happy to say that I was so blessed to be accepted into the TEACH program as well as one of Happy Kids staff. TEACH didn’t support only financial but also in other ways like organizing and maintaining your academic success at all time. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Lynn.  Lynn had been an awesome lady with an open mind while being respectful and willing to support with whatever she can do to help me succeed. I have been blessed by the Lord to have great people assisting me like my husband was always supporting me during my studies, my children who during the last couple of classes were proofreading some papers for me and of course the TEACH staff.

I believe education is the light in a dark road. Obtaining more education gave me a better understanding of children’s development, helping them out, communicating with parents, and supervising my staff.

I want to thank TEACH for the chance they gave me, Happy Kids Academy staff and parents for their encouragement.

I would like to encourage all educators who work with children to take the advantage of the TEACH program and start or continue their education. If I could do it, anybody can.


 

M Burns grad

I have worked in the Early Childhood field for 18 years. I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education back in 2001. I was set to never having to go through the stress of boring homework assignments, projects, and teachers staring at me from behind a desk ever again! Since graduating, I worked my way up my career path from Assistant teacher to a well-seasoned and knowledgeable Administrator and Curriculum Coordinator. I have taken leadership roles in every position I have been assigned over the year. I have encouraged several employees over the course of my profession to start school, or return, because of the positive influence it provides to how you run your classroom and interact with parents.

Being a participant in the Delaware Stars program, I was required to meet the Essential Standards requirements.  As an advocate for Delaware Stars I immediately sent in my paper work to receive the appropriate credentials. To my surprise, because my credits had been previously used towards other credentials, I could not get my certificate. Over the several weeks I investigated my options of how to obtain my certificate- I also began reflecting on my position in the Early Childhood field.   How could I hold others to the expectations, and do the job I was currently doing, when even I was not now considered qualified for my position- despite meeting previously set requirements?

I did not want to go back to school again, nor afford to pay for a degree all over again. I have 2 young children involved in after school activities and a husband who travels in his career. I questioned going back for an entire year making up every excuse possible not to return to my studies.

Unfortunately my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer unexpectedly.  As you can imagine this was devastating to me and my family. When she was able to, my mother kept asking when I was going to register myself for school. I told her- when she was better I would consider it. Another year passed and she was slowly gaining strength and in remission. There was no telling how long she would be in this state. I had support and encouragement from great friends, my amazing husband and sister, as well as support from my employer and other staff members. As scared as I was about going back to school (and petrified of losing time with my mother) I decided to go and register at Springfield College.

Springfield’s schedule for professional adults fit best to my needs. Their professors were supportive with my special academic needs, as well as devoted and knowledgeable in what they were teaching. The workload was intense at first, but I stuck it out and the semesters became much easier as they progressed- even when I had to write several term papers and participate in discussions.  It was a crazy two years of juggling long drives to regularly care for my mother, kids schedules of sports and homework, my own fulltime job responsibilities of a large childcare center and all the in between life happening such as buying and selling house- this was not a dull moment in my life!   After some time I figured out how to multitask my responsibilities. I was able to keep my work at work, read my text book assignments to my mother, and completed homework assignments whilst playing board games with my family or watching sport games.

 


 

BZimmerman

I will start by introducing myself. My name is Brittany Zimmerman and I began my college adventure in 2008. When I first graduated high school, I knew for sure that I wanted to be a nurse, so I set off to Salisbury University. While attending college, my mom needed to undergo back surgery. My mom has owned and ran a home daycare for the past 28 years and I did not want to see her lose clientele. So I decided to run her daycare while she was recovering. I fell in love with working with the children and I knew that this was my passion. So, I closed the chapter of wanting to become a nurse and I switched schools and majors. I started attending Delaware Technical and Community College pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education: Birth to Second. I had no idea how I was going to pay for school, because I had invested my scholarships and grants at Salisbury University. That’s when I heard about the program T.E.A.C.H. I have to say without the help of T.E.A.C.H I would not have been able to finically afford college.

After graduating from Delaware Tech with my associates, I went on to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood at Wilmington University. This college adventure was a little different then the first. I started Wilmington at the end of 2015. I married my husband in April of 2016 and we also purchased our first home together. In May I found out that I was pregnant with my first child and the joy was overwhelming. I was beyond excited. Unfortunately, it was not the Lord’s will and I miscarried in June. It was devastating but I went on with life and figured I would dive harder into my school work. I had signed up for seven classes for the upcoming semester. Then in July, my husband and I discovered that I was pregnant again. Still healing from the loss of our first child I tried not to get too excited, because you never know what can happen. But, this time God knew we were ready.

Begin pregnant and attending college, is certainly an adventure. I remember sitting in the science lab have the weirdest food carvings. I did have morning sickness, so the fun of preparing for a test in the morning was always the best. On the bright side, I couldn’t really sleep well at night, so I had plenty of time to write papers! I crammed all my remaining classes together and I could finish Wilmington University two weeks before my son arrived. I was so worried that he was going to come early and I would miss finals. It is not the easiest road being pregnant and attending college, but extremely awarding.

My college adventure has been one for the books. I would never change the way it went. I am extremely thankful to T.E.A.C.H for all their help and support. I want to extend a special thank you to Lynn Jezyk, she has been there for me from the start of my T.E.A.C.H journey. I honestly can say that through our many emails and phone calls, I have developed a friendship with Lynn. She has been there to answer any of my questions and when I was extremely worried at certain points in my college career, she was there to assure me that everything was going to be okay. If I have any advice for someone attending college it would be, “never stop”. Life is going to happen and things may not look like they are going to line up the way they should, but they will! It may be a crazy ride, but when you have the diploma in your hand all the late nights and living on caffeine will be worth it.