My first job was corn detasseling, that traditional first job in Chatham-Kent. When I was 15, I started working at Dairy Queen on Richmond Street and I worked there until the middle of college.
What is your favourite Chatham-Kent pastime?
Spending time with my children, we love going to Erieau and going for walks on the beach, Going for bike rides in Rondeau. We were introduced to geocaching a few years ago. There are many geocaching opportunities locally. Some you can leave little trinkets or sign little log books - it is a giant treasure hunt for the kids! During the summer we do a lot of camping and spending time outdoors.
What is your favourite season, and why?My favorite season is summer as we do a lot of camping. We have camped locally at Rondeau and Wildwood but also like to try different spots. Everywhere has something new and exciting to offer.
Name an experience that has positively motivated you.There are so many positive experiences in life that have happened to me that it is hard to choose just one. So here are my top three, when I originally left to start working on cruise ships, it was great time to redefine myself and find me. I was able to focus on my needs and grow. The second would be meeting my husband, the two of us just flow together we always stand beside one another and bring out the best each other and last it would having my children. Seeing the world through their eyes and providing so many different experiences for them as they grow up. Every day I want to become a better person, and a better mom.
What did you do after high school?I started in nursing school but left after the first semester to enter into the Early Childhood Education program. When I graduated college, I had my first ECE job as a nanny. I was a nanny in 2002 for six months. I started working at Growing Together Family Resource Centre and worked there for 3 years, I was in need of a change. Life happens and I needed to disconnect so I started to work on a Norwegian Cruise Line, I worked on the Norwegian Sun, in the kids program, which sailed Alaska from to July to September. I loved Alaska it was a great experience. You meet so many different people from so many different backgrounds and different beliefs. I came home during a break and could have gone back but after a week being home, I met my husband. He is originally from Blenheim. We had mutual friends and our lives crossed many times but we had never met before. He lived in London at the time and I moved to London to live with him. I worked at child care in London. We lived there for a year but knew it was time to come home.
What are you doing now?I have come full circle and I am back working for Growing Together Family Resource Centre. I have been back since 2007.
What surprised you about your move baCK?The simplicity of Chatham. I can travel any where in Chatham without the abundance of traffic. It does not take 45 minutes to drive two blocks. It is the politeness of people. In London, you can walk up to a store and the person in front of you will close the door on you. Here, people hold the door open and wait for you to come through. The simple little things make Chatham-Kent great.
What challenges did you face in moving baCK2CK?When we moved back, my husband still had his job in London. Until he secured work here, the driving was tough.
What has made you happy about your move baCK?Being around family and friends. We were coming home so often that it just made sense to come back. Our roots are here. Being around your support system makes a difference.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an ECE?It is rewarding field, being able to create those bonds and relationships with families and children is amazing. You make such an impact in the life of a child. I have been in this field for a long time so now I able to reconnect with children that I worked with years ago. They still remember me and can share moments that they loved or activities we did together that they remember as positives. It is so rewarding to be that person in someone's life.
What is your #1 reason for choosing Chatham-Kent as "home"?
It has always been my home, it so easy being here. It is great being surrounded by family and friends. There are so many little outlets in the community like the EarlyON program. It was a way to get out of house and build relationships for both my children with other children and for me with other parents. We join in the family swims and swimming lessons at Blenheim pool and it is great walking in and knowing the lifeguards' name and them knowing yours. It is that rich sense of community belonging. Chatham-Kent is built of many small communities and they are all so welcoming.