A Journey through Joy, Loss, and Hope: A Thrive by Five Participant Shares Her Early Learning Story

Roxana RosasFor Roxana Rosas, teaching is in her blood. Both of her parents were teachers in Cuba where she was raised. When Roxana fled Cuba with her young son to pursue better opportunities in the United States, her parents and her son inspired her to begin her new journey as an early childhood educator.

“I didn’t want to leave my son alone in a child care facility until I had a better understanding of American child care practices,” said Roxana. “I was motivated to study. I started teaching at the same child care program where he was enrolled, and I learned how I can best help my son and other children during their most formative years.”

At the child care program, some of Roxana’s co-workers were participating in The Children’s Trust Thrive by 5 Early Learning Quality Improvement System (Thrive by 5). They encouraged her to explore Thrive by 5 opportunities for early childhood educators.

Roxana decided to take advantage of a Thrive by 5 educator scholarship that covered the full cost of an 18-credit bilingual certification program in early care and education as well as the cost of translating her Cuban degree required for her to attend the program. With the help of her career advisor, Roxana began courses at Florida International University (FIU).

“My career advisor was one of the reasons I decided to continue my studies in early care and education,” Roxana explained. “She believed in me and told me that I should take advantage of the Thrive by 5 scholarship.”

During her studies, Roxana celebrated the birth of her twins but also suffered the loss of her mother, one of the most important people in her life. During this bittersweet time, Roxana found support in her peers and professors.

“The relationships I formed with fellow students at FIU and the support of my professors had a major impact on my life,” Roxana said. “They helped me overcome my loss and finish the program.”

After Roxana earned her early care and education certification, she applied and was hired for a dream job at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education Demonstration School, Educare Miami, with a salary increase over her old position. Another perk was that her twins were accepted into the early care and education program at this center.

Roxana credits the Thrive by 5 scholarship for the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.

“Today, I am a co-teacher at the United Way Center for Excellence which is one of the best high-quality child care programs in Miami-Dade County,” Roxana said.  “I never thought I would gain the experience needed to work here. I believe the Thrive by 5 scholarship was the driving force for them to hire me.”

As for the future, Roxana plans to enroll in English classes to continue her personal and professional growth. She encourages others who are considering Thrive by 5 scholarships for professional development to seize the opportunity to apply.

“I believe we all have the desire to help children,” she said. “My hope is that I can make a difference and help to improve the early care and education field. From our classrooms, we can impact the world.”

For more information on Thrive by 5, please contact the Early Learning Career Center at 888-352-4453 or visit http://www.elcareercenter.org/.