I got my start at a community college following my divorce. As a single mother, working full time and going to school was difficult. I made it through because the faculty and staff at community colleges like College of the Desert (COD) are here to help change lives. Now, many years later, I am a proud faculty member of COD, changing the lives of my students. I couldn't ask for a better job or a better life! Thank you, COD!
#208 Samantha Mendez, Student
(Intern, McCarthy Child Development Center
Student, pursuing AA in Early Childhood Education)
I have been working at the McCarthy Center for a year now. I work as an intern in the Hummingbird's preschool classroom. In the year that I have been working there I have learned A LOT. I believe the Center has helped and prepared me very much for the future. I would recommend the Center to parents who are looking for a place for their young children to attend. And also to other COD students looking for a job opportunity while also taking classes because the Center is very flexible with student's schedules.
College of the Desert and the McCarthy Child Development & Training Center at
College of the Desert have been tremendously helpful for the continuation of my education. My Professors are my mentors and teachers, helping me to go up the ladder of the final stage of my education; particularly in my career in Early Childhood Education. I really appreciate the free loan book program. It is through this program that I am able to complete my education. I was thinking my education was over; but, through this book program it rekindled and restarted my life. And I want to say thank you from the bottom my heart. I have no words or ways to explain my gratitude other than to go out and help others as I have been helped.
It is a privilege for me to have an opportunity to have interaction and also to watch children during interactive learning during play. I was astonished to see how smart these children are when they are playing and interacting with one another and the teachers. I have an opportunity to be in the two year old classroom. I was astonished to see how well they demonstrated how their teachers take care of them in the class; and when playing with their dolls pretending to be mothers, as well as demonstrating how their parents make a cup of coffee. The two year olds showed sincerity and sympathy to their dolls as their teachers do with them in the classroom and on the playground.
I also enjoy having an opportunity to monitor the four year olds during activity. I was amazed to see how much energy they possess while they cheerfully used blocks to build houses with rooms, including yards for their animals. They also built barns for their animals and fences to keep them safe. To me, watching children learning through play is amazing. Last but not the least is to watch them comfortably eat and see them enjoy their meals. Please come and bring your children and support the excellence and atmosphere of learning through play at the McCarthy Child Development & Training Center.
I graduated from Palm Springs High School in 1970. I went to Northern Arizona University and graduated with a BA in Elementary Education/Learning Disabilities. I traveled around the world for 17 years with my Air Force husband, living in six states and three countries. During our traveling years I began working in early childhood centers, and discovered that THIS was my passion and avocation. In July of 1991, I moved back to Palm Springs to be with my family and the familiar and comforting San Jacinto mountains. Within a few days of returning I read in The Desert Sun about a new Child Development Center that had opened on the COD campus. I dropped by in between summer sessions, spoke to the director and began working at the center in September 1991. As they say in clichés all over the world “I was home”.
During the next ten years, I took ECE classes, became a mentor teacher for the ECE lab students, worked as the assistant director, supervised the evening program, and was interim director for three months. In 2001 I went to teach Kindergarten in a private school, still here in the desert. While teaching Kindergarten, I continued being a mentor for the ECE program as well as an adjunct faculty for COD.
In 2013, my career took another turn and I thought retirement was a “good idea”. And it was, for about a year. Then lo and behold I once again stopped in at the now McCarthy Family Child Care Center and spoke again to the Director, and in January 2014 came back to my old stomping grounds as a long-term sub in the Toddler program. I became full-time, permanent Toddler Teacher in September and have had the added joy of working in the new ECE building that also has two new "state of the art", toddler classrooms! I am currently a student taking a long missed ECE class. Talk about full-circle! And it only took 23 years! WELCOME HOME!
Incredible does not begin to describe my time at College of the Desert. After a few failed attempts to attend college right after high school, I was determined this time. After all, I knew exactly what I wanted to pursue. Early Childhood Education was on my radar. How could it not be when I have always felt a closeness, love and interest in the absorbent minds of young children? For the first time in my life, I discovered a passion for young ones that I did not know I had. I qualified for assistance and I was able to attend and get help with books too. My courses were intriguing. My professors were engaging, helpful and understanding yet pushed me beyond what I thought I was ever capable of.
I was hired on at the McCarthy Family Child Development Training Center as an Intern (you can see my photo on the website under the Childcare & Lab link). I made the Dean's List every semester, passed with almost straight A's and graduated with honors. I completed my final courses in the Fall when I was six months pregnant and was able to walk the following June as the first college graduate from my family.
I couldn't have done it without my family, my husband, and my determination. I was hired on the spot as an infant/toddler teacher at Montessori School of Palm Springs and within a year was promoted to Director of Montessori School of the Desert where I currently reside. We continue to hire COD students at both facilities and we always acquire well educated, loving and enthusiastic teachers. Thank you College of the Desert for continuing to inspire us all here in desert.