Meet Shari, an Infant Teacher at our Joliet Early Learning Center in Joliet, Illinois. She became a Hope Member in 2019 and teaches infants alongside her two Assistant Teachers, Rocio and Ariana. Since she shares a name with another Hope Member at the Joliet Early Learning Center, the students have lovingly dubbed her with the name “Ms. Baby Shari.”
At home, Shari also goes by the name “Mom” to her three adult children and you can probably find her chasing after her sweet dog, Gunner. Her positive and loving energy is infectious and warms up every space she walks into. We talked with Shari about what inspired her to join OHU, the best part about being an Early Learning Center Teacher, and more.
What did you do before coming to One Hope United?
I did work at another daycare center, but then I had a 15 year hiatus where I was working at a cabinet shop as a Cabinet Finisher. I stained and lacquered cabinets. I did enjoy that, but then the housing market crashed and I thought: Let’s go back to what I know.
What do you love about working here?
We are such an inclusive organization, we don’t turn anybody away. Everybody is welcome. Working here, I feel like family. I’ve never felt so appreciated working in a place before. They really take care of you here, listen to your concerns and act on them. It’s just amazing! And it’s really easy to make it amazing when the people you work with are amazing.
What is your day-to-day like as a Teacher at OHU?
Every day is a little different. I work with babies, and you kind of just have to go off their mood. Whatever they’re feeling is what we go with. In the morning when they come, they usually play and I get breakfast ready. My Assistant Teachers come in at 8 am. The babies play, we read stories, we do projects, and a lot of hugs. A lot of hugs… that’s the best part. I get paid to love, it doesn’t get any better than that! Whatever the babies need, that’s what they get.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming an Early Learning Center Teacher?
Be able to go with the flow. #1 you need to love it and #2 you just need to be able to go with the flow. We help each other out, sometimes you’ll help in another room and you get to learn other rooms and ages.
What are you most proud of since becoming a Hope Member?
The relationships I’ve been able to build with the families. I’ve always told the parents, “Your babies are our babies and we’re a team.” We take care of their babies all day long and try to be like a second set of “parents” while mom and dad are at work.