Over my nine years at Rainbows United, I have been fortunate enough to have been able to be a part of fostering the development of young children, working with some incredible staff, and learning valuable skills that will serve me as I move forward in my life and career. My role at Rainbows has changed and morphed over the time I have been here, providing me with unique opportunities to participate in different experiences and see things from different perspectives. It is through these experiences that I have learned about working with children with disabilities and their families and building relationships with staff. Without the culmination of these events and the challenges, at times, that were sometimes connected to them, I would not have become the person I am today. The support and camaraderie I have felt during my time here is unlike any other work experience I have had.
The commitment the Rainbows staff has to children and families permeates every inch and crevice of what they do daily. This dedication is truly amazing and I feel blessed to have been a part of that experience. As I move forward into the next chapter of my professional life, I take with me an understanding of how to create a work environment that fosters creativity, connectedness, and compassion for others. My goal as I educate the next generation of early childhood professionals is to pass on the knowledge I learned from Rainbows. I hope to help them understand the importance of building strong relationships with families, being advocates for their field and the services that enhance the lives of children, and instilling in them a desire and passion for learning so that they too can continue to improve as they move into careers and positions that impact young children. For me, Rainbows United will always continue to be a part of my life even as I move into a new role. The impact the organization has had on me has changed my being. I can never repay or thank them enough, only hope to continue to live out the values and lessons I learned while there. This post was written by Jennifer Francois. Jennifer will be joining Kansas State University as an Assistant Professor in Family Studies and Human Services. Jennifer Francois with the CBETS Department