Interviews with parents that became staff members through CEO’s CDA or FDC Programs
Moe Moe Swe
Early Head Start Teacher, Rensselaer Family Resource Center
How long have you been working for CEO?
Eight years already! I started in 2015. I was a parent first, my son was in the infant room in 2014. I was going to Hudson Valley at the time for early childhood education. When I was pregnant with my second baby, Ms. Jennifer, the Family Advocate, and Ms. Tia came and visited me at home. I was working at a different daycare, and they helped me fill out the paperwork to come work at CEO. I started as a Substitute Teacher at RFRC, and I enrolled in the CDA class. I passed that and got my CDA and started working in the infant/toddler room.
Burmese is your first language. Did you learn English later in life?
Yes! In my country I was an art teacher in an international school where I had to use some English. We moved here in 2012 because my husband had a work VISA. I’ve been here for more than a decade now. When I first started working here, I was so surprised at all the diversity in the kids and families. So many different colors and cultures, it’s amazing!
How long have you been in the classroom you’re in now? What was the CDA program like?
I’ve been in this classroom for five years now. Every kid and every day is different. I’m really interested in what they’re going to do tomorrow. I’m still learning from them. They have so many different milestones. I love how each family is different, just as every kid is. In my country the people were all very similar, here everyone is so different.
When I had my first baby, I didn’t know how to change a diaper. I didn’t know so many things, so going to Hudson Valley for early childhood development taught me so much. I’m really interested in early childhood development. I like the chance to learn more. The CDA class was so good for me because it opened my eyes and allowed me to learn about so many things about children. It was great to learn about their physical development and social emotional development. I felt supported in gaining knowledge on how to take care of children. I’m so proud of myself for going through it.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love to do art projects with the infants. I can teach them about color. They don’t necessarily understand it all, but they enjoy it. Doing the art projects together is so nice. They all love it, they are so excited by it. They love color mixing, hand over hand even.
I really love to work here because of the teamwork. I feel safe and supported like it’s a family. Here at CEO there is so much diversity, and everyone is very kind. Ms. Tracy helped me a lot over the years from when my kids were tiny until now. I’m really happy to work here.
Family Advocate – Rensselaer Family Resource Center
What has your journey with CEO been like?
I started off as a substitute after graduating high school. I hadn’t finished my college work yet, but CEO had a teacher leaving and asked me if I wanted to fill in and get my CDA. So I started working in the infant room and earning my CDA. This was all at Stepping Stones, and when that closed I became the Infant Teacher in Lansingburgh. After that, I moved to the RFRC as a toddler teacher, I then applied for the Family Advocate position, and got it. I just recently had my second son and earned my FDC through CEO too.
What was it like earning your CDA & FDC credentials through CEO?
I loved it. Knowing I didn’t complete my college courses, going back to school at my own pace was great. I earned my CDA in 2010. This is my sixteenth year with CEO.
What has it been like to be both a parent of a CEO child and a staff member?
As a parent, CEO has helped me a lot with both of my children. My oldest started in the UPK setting, and we got him the services he needed through there. My younger son started in the RFRC as an infant. When he was in the 3pk room we were having some behavioral issues and CEO worked with me to get him evaluated, and we were able to get him diagnosed with autism and get him the help he needs. He’s come a long way, and CEO has guided me in the way I needed. It was great.
What is it like being a Family Advocate in the RFRC as a community member and parent?
I love it because I can work with both the children and the families. I’m someone who likes to help people, so I feel good knowing that I can help someone.
My favorite part of the work is working with families. I still get to see the kids even though I’m not a teacher, and I get to make more of a connection. I’m a lifer. I’m not going anywhere.
Prenatal Program Coordinator
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey from CEO parent to CEO staff member?
My journey started with CEO in 2013 as a parent, I started in the prenatal program when I was pregnant with my second child. Shortly after he was born his father passed away leaving me a solo parent. I applied to CEO as a Teacher Assistant and was interviewed within a few days. I gladly accepted the position when it was offered to me.
What are some of your favorite parts about the roles you’ve had at CEO?
I’ve had many different roles here from parent to Prenatal Coordinator. TA, Substitute, Toddler Teacher, a mentor, and Prenatal Program Coordinator. I love that I can relate to everyone. It is easy for me to relate to the families we serve because I am also a Head Start parent.
I love that I’m a part of the CEO community and have formed amazing bonds with staff and families alike. I especially like being everyone’s cheerleader and supporter.
What was the CDA experience like for you?
CDA was great. We met once a week for the school year. I already had experience through Hudson valley, and CDA gave me an opportunity to put together a portfolio of things I did in the classroom.
How did you go about earning your degrees?
CDA was my segue into finishing my degree at Hudson Valley.
Just knowing that I was able to complete my CDA while being a single working parent, encouraged me to dive back into the degree program I started 10 years prior. I graduated in 2015 from Hudson Valley, and during COVID, I decided to go back to school to get my Bachelors. I graduated in January 2022 from SUNY Empire.
I love that I can grow with CEO and make a difference. I love that we can support the community.