Celeste Smith is a dedicated wife and mother. She lives in Park City, Kansas with her husband of 24 years. Their only child, a daughter named Alexandra, was a Rainbows’ child nearly 17 years ago. Alexandra was 3 years old when she first started at Rainbows, and according to Celeste, “She had so much fun there.” Alexandra received both physical and speech therapy services while with Rainbows. She was born with clubfoot and underwent several surgeries as a young child. Thanks to successful operations and Rainbows’ therapy, Alexandra has no issues leading an active lifestyle today. She went on to graduate from Wichita’s Heights High School in 2014. Now a 20 year old, Alexandra is working at Resource Life Center, and has plans to start classes at Wichita Area Technical College in just a few weeks. Her family’s positive experience is what fueled Celeste’s decision to return to Rainbows this year as a volunteer.
One thing Celeste recalls from her daughter’s time at Rainbows was the incredible staff. “My husband and I loved Rainbows so much because of the people. Alexandra had fantastic teachers!” This is what created Celeste’s desire to take on a role that involved interacting with the children. She is an ongoing volunteer at Kids’ Point as a classroom assistant. She donates 4 hours of her life each week to classroom 7, a group of lively 3-5 year olds. According to Celeste, working with the children at Rainbows makes her feel important. “When you come into the classroom, the kids are always so excited to see you,” she says. “They remember your name and enjoy playing with you. They even miss you when you’re gone!” Her responsibility at Rainbows is to help the lead teachers in the class carry out daily activities with the children. Celeste does anything from helping with crafts and playing on the playground with the kids, to serving lunch and providing an extra person to give one-on-one attention when a child needs a moment away from the group. Miss Autumn Hutchinson, the head teacher in classroom 7, really enjoys having Celeste in her class. “The kids love Celeste,” Autumn said. “When she comes into the room they run to her and give her a huge hug.”
Celeste has observed the care children receive from Rainbows and how it makes a big difference. “I love witnessing all the support the kids get and I’m happy to be a part of that. You can actually see the improvements happen right in front of you.” Miss Autumn agrees that great things happen at Rainbows, and that Celeste is a part of the impact that takes place. “The smiles on the children’s faces tell me she really makes a difference in their lives,” Autumn said. “But, I can also tell the children make a difference in Celeste’s life as well. This is evident in the fact that she came in and celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas with the kids when it wasn’t her scheduled volunteer time.” Celeste’s favorite part of volunteering is simply spending time with the kids. “I would encourage others to volunteer at Rainbows. The kids are just awesome. I have so much fun every time I come in,” she says.
Celeste also enjoys volunteering for the Lord’s Diner and the Bread of Life, and works out at the YMCA in her spare time. Between her family life and her active volunteer schedule, we are grateful that Celeste creates a space for Rainbows in her agenda.
Thank you for all you do for the kids in classroom 7, Celeste! They love you, and so do we.