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Rep. Wasserman Schultz Tells Provider's Story on the House Floor

April 14, 2008

During a Special Order Hour on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 14, 2008, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) presented the following story from child care provider Kelly Matthews of Iowa City, Iowa.

You and I share something important in common.  We both go to work each day with a grounded, deeply-held belief that we do our chosen work for one very simple reason: to change the world. I don’t work in the halls of Congress, but in my home, caring for children in my Child Development Home in Iowa City. What other reason, aside from wishing to impact with future, could motivate someone to take on a job with modest pay, no benefits, and no paid time off? This isn’t about a “job” for me – this is my profession, my chosen life’s work – and it is an amazing gift I am given each day to partner with the families I serve.

I have built my child care program around the ideas of community, caring for each other, and falling in love with learning. I love this work because I have carefully crafted a program where kids succeed in all these areas in amazing ways: when Claire (at 18 months) already knows how to comfort a friend, when Trae (at 5 years old) can easily count and set out the right number of plates for his friends at the lunch table, when Lexi (at 3 years old) works hard to write the names of the members of her family, when Gus (at 3 years old) knows how to care for his things and the things that belong to others, when two toddlers are already capable of working out a conflict in a peaceful way without an adult’s intervention . . . I know these children will be ready not only for school, but just as importantly, for life. They will grow into adults that know how to take responsibility for themselves and how to care for others, how to problem solve and be creative in their endeavors, how to “keep on trying, even when it is tricky.”

I take this work seriously. Approximately 50 hours a week of my time with children in my home, plus all the additional hours of paperwork, supply shopping, continuing education, networking with my colleagues, and add to that total, developing and presenting hours of trainings to inspire other family child care providers to constantly improve themselves and their programs. But for those of us committed to our professions and our vision of an inspired world, it’s all in a day’s work, isn’t it?

Kelly Matthews
Iowa City, IA

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