Read testimonials from participants of Forum programs. If you would like to submit a testimonial, please call 850-487-6344 or send an e-mail to jjbrown@thechildrensforum.com

  • T.E.A.C.H.
  • WAGE$
  • Gold Seal
  • Quality Counts
  • Information Technology
  • Program Assessment

I am very grateful for the T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program. Without it, I would not have been able to go to school for my A.S. degree in Early Childhood.

— Lisa Bivens, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I am a participant in the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Scholarship Program. This program first enabled me to achieve my Child Development Associate Credential. Getting an education in Early Childhood Development enables us to bring quality into our childcare centers. I know it’s been said many times, but children are our future. They deserve the best that we can offer and programs like T.E.A.C.H. allow them to get the best qualified teachers available. Most childcare center employees cannot afford to pursue their education out of their own pocket. I am currently attending school for my Director’s Credential. The sky is the limit as long as we have access to programs like T.E.A.C.H.

— Deborah Yancey, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

The T.E.A.C.H. scholarship paid my cost of tuition. I thank everyone that had a part in it. Without T.E.A.C.H., I would not finish my class.

— Vernita Barnes, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I would like to thank the T.E.A.C.H. program for this wonderful opportunity. I started my college career like most others, but had to stop because of my son. Life happened and some 20 years later, as a requirement of my job at the school and in the childcare center, I had to go back to school. It was then that I heard about the T.E.A.C.H. program. I applied and was accepted. Each semester I became more comfortable with school and the classes I was taking. I cannot express in words how much support, advice and direction the T.E.A.C.H. program has given me towards completing my degree. Through my interactions with the T.E.A.C.H. staff and the colleges I have been lucky enough to attend, I am now looking forward to finishing my AS degree and accomplishing a dream I thought I never would reach; opening my own facility. I know that without the help and support of T.E.A.C.H., I would not be where I am today.

— Faye Henderson, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I really appreciate the T.E.A.C.H. program because it is helping me to achieve my degree. It is also encouraging to know that there is help out there for early childhood educators. I hope this program will continue to be in place to help anyone who desires assistance.

— Antoinette Johnson, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

The T.E.A.C.H. program is an excellent program that is helping many early childhood educators get a better education in order to better serve the children in their communities. I am very thankful for the opportunity that T.E.A.C.H. and the child care center has given me to get my AS degree in Early Childhood Education. I could not have been able to go back to school without this scholarship.

— Jessica Alexander, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I truly believe that without the existence of T.E.A.C.H., the quality of Early Childhood Education would be reduced significantly. It is difficult to live the wages we receive as Early Childhood Educators, let alone the cost of higher education. T.E.A.C.H. enables people to gain an education they would otherwise not have access to. I have had the privilege to meet many T.E.A.C.H. recipients and not one of them would have been in school had it not been for the scholarship. The recipients of this scholarship are fostering children during their most influential learning windows. Those children deserve the best care they can get. I will be forever grateful for the T.E.A.C.H. scholarship, not only what it does for me but for what I see it does for the future of America.

— Cameron Mater, Tallahassee Community College

I was going through a very difficult time in my life, and I wouldn’t have been able to continue my dream of receiving a college degree without T.E.A.C.H. I might have given up if it hadn’t been for my T.E.A.C.H. counselor who believed in me and wouldn’t let me give up my goal of higher education. And I never experienced complications with registering for classes or receiving reimbursements. Getting a college degree has made me a lifelong learner and a lifelong teacher. It is a sacrifice to go back to school, but when you get through the planting and plowing, your life is like a garden. When you see the harvest, it makes you feel good.

— Teresa Waters-Feagle, Parent Liaison and Resource Teacher, Florida First Start

For many years, StarChild Academy has directly benefitted from these funds in that they have enabled us to put nearly 40 employees through the National CDA program. The T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship program is a wonderful, professional organization.

— Shelby Fritz, Director of the StarChild Academy

I am a T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship recipient and I am writing to say thank you for your help with assisting me to further my education. I am not sure I would be where I am today if I didn’t have help from T.E.A.C.H.

— Holly Slaughter, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I am a mother of five returning back to school to further my education in Early Childhood. Financially, it seemed impossible but because of T.E.A.C.H, what seemed impossible is now possible. Thank you for the opportunity in making dreams and career goals possible to accomplish.

— Madelyn Washington, Broward County Student

I am grateful for a state program (T.E.A.C.H) that provides a means for teachers to meet a requirement of the state. Early childhood is such a critical period for building a strong foundation. Many can continue teaching and doing just that, thanks to T.E.A.C.H. scholarships.

— Janet Edwards, Director of the University Carillon United Methodist Church

As a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship recipient, I wanted to take this moment to send my gratitude for the opportunity I’ve been given to further my education in the field I love to work in.

— Ethel R. Lee, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

Having the support and finance from such a great program such as T.E.A.C.H. would only allow the world to be a better place.

— Kiuwana Shipman, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

Each semester I speak with hundreds of students who are able to continue their education as a result of the T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship. T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships are making it possible for them to pursue the dream of a lifetime.

— Dr. Maureen O’Neil, Associate Professor, Tallahassee Community College

When we started our program last year, I shared the information regarding T.E.A.C.H. and the scholarship program with each of my staff who did not currently have their CDA. Six of my teachers applied and all six received the scholarship and are working to complete their CDA program.

— Kim Rop, Director of LifeSong Mother’s Morning Out

I am a better teacher, mother, wife and friend because of my confidence level and the education you have made possible.

— Gina Schwartz, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

As a whole our industry is raising the level of high quality by being able to employ more staff with credentials because the pool we have to employ from. It is growing because of the scholarship opportunities available to them.

— Nancy Ryan, Director of the Gingerbread House

Not only does our program benefit from the knowledge of the teachers, but the children are the one who receive the quality education they deserve.

— Lisa Adams, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I am so grateful for the opportunity that your agency has given me to continue in the early childhood development career that I wrote a letter to the senator, governor, and house of representatives acknowledging this opportunity and to also keep this scholarship program available.

— Ana Ayala Torres, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I can personally say that this opportunity and experience has deeply marked my life and career. I can vouch that it has taken a positive effect in my work space, my students as well as opened my eyes to things I probably needed more focus on.

— Bileida S. Gonzalez, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

The scholarship has given me the opportunity to better myself and I am so grateful for that. Thank you for awarding me this scholarship; it has changed my life.

— Erica Scheall, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

Given the state of the economy, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to do this [CPA program] on my own.

— Lori Weerhiem, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient in Seminole, FL

This scholarship gave me the opportunity to continue my education and use this education at my work to make young children a solid foundation.

— Iram Ishaq, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

Your dedicated team of staff has been both supportive and responsive to the needs and demands of our teachers. Their courteous and prompt assistance has enabled our staff to make great progress in their educational endeavors.

— Bettye J. Grimmer, Staff Development and Research Specialist at East Coast Migrant Head Start Project Centers

You provide the kind opportunity that allows us to provide a safe and secure educational foundation for the young ones to be successful in the future.

— Bijal Patel, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

I am a mother of three, a wife, and a full-time teacher for a private school and if that isn’t enough, I go to college ¾ of the time each semester. I have always dreamed of getting a degree in the education field. I would never have been able to complete any schooling without the financial support.

— Melinda Danizio, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Recipient

Your investing in young children’s teacher’s training will allow families and communities to grow stronger and better prepared to succeed in competitive global economy and accept responsibilities of good citizenship.

— Nelson Merchan Cely, President of Hispanics in Action, Inc.

I’ve always loved children and I thought if I opened up my own child care facility, it would allow me to have the best of both worlds. The WAGE$ supplements helped me purchase additional toys and school materials for my home child care business. I was able to afford a lot of things that I really wouldn’t have been able to do without a struggle. In addition, my friend Sandra and I are both thankful for the WAGE$ staff who helped us in so many ways and who we consider friends. I feel good about what I have achieved. It is never too late to further your education to help children. Only if we help children can they succeed.

— Mary Bryant, WAGE$ Participant

Child Care WAGE$ is a great program. It has provided an avenue for child care providers to broaden their child development horizon and be compensated in the process.

— Irma H. Wesley, Broward County

The (WAGE$) salary supplements always come at the right time- when I am feeling financially depressed and second guessing my ability to remain a teacher. I quickly remember why I love this job.

— Hopewell Preschool, Broward County

I am so proud to be a part of a county who holds high regards for Early Childhood educators in child care centers. So often they do not consider themselves ‘professionals.’ This (WAGE$) helps to uphold the high standards of our profession.

— D. Gadpaille, Brevard County

Thank you for valuing Early Childhood teachers! This (WAGE$) project helps to enhance our classrooms and our children’s learning experiences. Children deserve the best a teacher can give them and you have helped me give them my best.

— Anonymous, Palm Beach County

After working in this field for so long, it’s very nice to see that finally someone is realizing what an important job this is.

— M. Aragon, Broward County

Our teachers have motivation to further their education now that we participate with WAGE$ and their continued education directly benefits our children.

— Kiddie Kampus, Miami-Dade County

Keep this program in place; the teachers appreciate the extra compensation.

— Apollo Preschool of Melbourne, Brevard County

Higher education has improved staff skills leading to greater interaction with children in a developmentally appropriate environment.

— East Coast Migrant, Palm Beach County

This has empowered my staff to take risks in their classrooms and feel more confident in explaining the power of play to our families.

— Broward Children’s Center, Broward County

When you have teachers that are qualified and happy, only the children can from this. Happy teachers + happy children = happy children ready to learn.

— Happy Cubs, Manatee County

When you feel appreciated you feel better about yourself and you pass those feeling on. You have a lot more to give a child when you have less stress.

— Dina Green, Broward County

I can’t think of anything that would make Child Care WAGE$® Florida Project better. It has been wonderful to receive money that was unexpected when we got it. It is nice to be appreciated and recognized for hard work and a job well done that benefits me and my family.

— Cheryl Oliphant, Brevard County

Thank you for the information; we are always grateful for the assistance you (CCTAPES) provide to us all the time.

— Mercedes Velez, Family Central

I began my career in child care three years ago as a floater and then became a teacher’s assistant. Because of help from the Quality Counts Career Center, I am now a lead teacher. The program has helped me gain knowledge and also awakened my creativity that has served as a tool for a fun, safe and educational environment. I am proud to mention that recently I was observed and assessed by a Quality Counts Quality Rating Improvement team member and I am happy to say that the class was up to standard requirements with just a minimum amount of faults. Through the observations, it was mentioned that my skills were of a quality of a teacher that has been in the system for 15 or more years. All thanks to the program and those who believed in me.

— Lisette Santos

I have a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Havana, Cuba where I worked for 26 years until I resigned and left the country. I had no hope that I would ever use my diploma. Fortunately for me this did not occur. The Quality Counts program has provided me with the opportunity of taking 18 college credits. I consider these courses to be excellent. It would be good to continue to provide this opportunity to the many people that teach the children in our county, and to make a reality of the phrase of our noble program ‘Quality Counts’.

— Ana Hechavarria

All the experiences I have encountered in my coursework, made possible through the Quality Counts Career Center, have been excellent. Not only have the courses helped me to be a better teacher but I also learned much more. Taking “online” classes and using the computer to present projects have been new learning experiences. I now feel better prepared to work with the children. I believe it has helped me grow professionally and personally.

— Lissette Hernandez, Alpha y Omega B.A. and Master in Nutrition

I feel very happy to have received a scholarship from the Quality Counts Career Center and complete my coursework in early childhood. I have incorporated my new understandings by expanding and implementing teaching strategies with the children in my classroom. This class has provided opportunities to interact with teachers from other centers, experiences that I consider very positive. The teachers are well prepared and are working diligently to help children and their parents in the learning processes.

— Margarita Perdigón

The Quality Counts Career Center is helping me to continue my education; facilitating the necessary tools to become a better educated educator. The program helps me financially; without it I won’t be able to get my 18 credits in early childhood education. I also learned new strategies and a more efficient way of organizing my classroom for a better learning environment. I’m thankful for Kenia Najera, my Quality Counts counselor. All my doubts and question were answered and also she guided me through the whole process. I am currently taking college courses to finish my 18 credits in early childhood education.

— Ivelisse Adames

The Forum’s Helpdesk staff and the information technology services they provide for the Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties is outstanding. I am so appreciative of their efforts and maintenance to keep our Coalition’s website current.

— Gloria W. Mayo, Executive Director, Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties

During the training we went outside and used the ERS to assess a playground – the actual evaluation of a real playground was a great idea.

— Dairy Road Discovery Center

The (Quality Initiatives) trainers were great! It’s nice to hear from people who know what we are going through and love what they do!

— KinderCare Learning Center