When New York Nonprofit Media asked organizations to nominate their frontline heroes, the most difficult task was figuring out how to select one person from a staff that is stocked with heroes.
We nominated several people and NYNM chose Carmen Gonzalez, our Early Head Start education director at P.S. 5 in Washington Heights. They held a celebratory breakfast this week, and she was joined by members of her family and the Children’s Aid family as well.
Carmen first came to Children’s Aid in 1994 when she joined "Padres Presentes y Futuro” (Parents of the Present and Future) at P.S. 5 Ellen Lurie in Washington Heights. It soon became apparent this young parent possessed an array of skills. We hired her to teach parents how to use items in their home and daily life to bond and play with their children. In 1996, we received a federal Early Head Start grant, largely based on the success of Padres Presentes y Futuro. We immediately asked her to be a home-based teacher.
Over the next two decades, Carmen worked with thousands of children and their parents, making sure these kids would meet all their developmental challenges and are ready for kindergarten on the first day. Last year, we promoted her yet again to her current.
During her tenure at Children's Aid, Carmen has earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s in early childhood special education. She has Doula certification and participated in numerous births with Early Head Start parents. She is licensed in infant massage. Both of her children, Head Start participants from the 1990s, have graduated from college. Whether it’s her kids or the many she has worked with, she has dedicated her life to making sure they succeed and thrive.
Congratulations to Carmen. And thank you for making Children’s Aid excellent.