Clarisa Mercado is among 10 childcare and education staff members at the Eva’s Village selected to receive training through the Passaic County Community College.
Mercado and the others will get together early every Saturday morning to attend classes at the Paterson campus. She is expected to learn thing like new lesson planning and curriculum development skills, safety and health awareness, social and emotional learning, and ways to strengthen family bonds.
“I know this training will help me be a better servant to the children at Eva’s, as well as with my future endeavors as an art therapist,” Mercado, an assistant to the program coordinator of Eva’s Childcare and Education Department, said.
Mercado will receive her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential at the end of her training. She will also receive 11 credits over two semesters that can be applied to early education degree programs.
Shahida Aktar, a childcare and education aide at the Eva’s Village, said the training was an “opportunity I could not pass up.” She has been interested early childhood education since high school and wants to become a family therapist or psychologist.
The training for Mercado and Aktar was made possible through a $35,000 grant from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation. The foundation awarded the one-year grant to the Passaic County Community College’s Department of Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education.
Students completed two sessions earlier this month and have begun implementing the lessons they are learning in the classroom to serve families and children at the Eva’s Village. It’s also building camaraderie among staff members.
“I feel more connected to my co-workers than ever before as we strive towards this goal together,” Mercado said.
The partnership between the Passaic County Community College and Eva’s Village aims to build capacity at the state’s largest anti-poverty organization.
“We hope to use our partnership as a model to assist similar community-based agencies serving our community’s most vulnerable children,” Linda Carter, assistant professor and CDA Program coordinator at PCCC’s Department of Early Childhood and Teacher Education, said.
Eva’s Village served 182 mothers and children in the first eight months of 2016.