Use your inside voice! For those of you who are parents, this phrase probably sounds all too familiar. But when one of our teachers said these words at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus recently, it brought her to tears…in a good way!
Karen Rogers, a lead teacher in St. Ann Center’s childcare program, was concerned about Collyn from the first day he walked into her classroom last September. Painfully shy, he’d sit on the periphery, not saying a word. At lunchtime, he’d eat by himself. When asked a question, he’d shake his head “no.” And while the other 4-year-olds gleefully launched themselves into the ball pit, he’d stand back and watch.
Collyn’s delayed social skills became the focus of discussions between his St. Ann Center teachers, Head Start advocates and his family—all committed to helping him improve. His classmates and the center’s adult clients were involved, too. “Our center is a community,” Karen said. “Every age in it is respected and important.” They began working with him one-on-one and involving him in learning and play activities with his classmates and the adult clients. Despite his silence, “I knew Collyn was soaking everything in,” Karen added. After six months, Collyn’s teachers saw his behavior shift.
“I’ll never forget the morning he walked into class and, out of the blue, started talking and playing with the other children,” Karen said. “That’s when I knew we’d made this little boy feel comfortable interacting with others.”
Because of caring people like you, St. Ann Center has been able to fill the need for quality early childhood education on Milwaukee’s near north side. Our year-old Bucyrus campus is just blocks from Collyn’s house.
Now Collyn can be found in the thick of things—building Lego cities, painting pictures, and learning his letters and numbers. He shakes hands with his older adult friends and even joins them in singing karaoke, one of everyone’s favorite intergenerational activities. “The first time he burst into song, shouted and giggled, I was so surprised and happy, I got teary-eyed,” Karen recalled. She’d never been so thrilled to say, “Use your inside voice, please!”
Here’s a little secret: when I talk about YOU, our donor, our true believer, I can’t help but use my “outside” voice because you have helped create Collyn’s success story. Your donation to St. Ann Center gives children a safe place to grow and thrive. For example, $245 will pay for five days of early childhood education.
Give before December 31st to have your donation doubled. Elaine Schreiber and an anonymous donor are matching your gift up to a total of $60,000. You can donate securely on this site at: stanncenter.org/donate
Thank you for making all we do possible,
Sr. Edna Lonergan, OSF