Mindy Brockmeyer, early childhood special education teacher for Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services, is the recipient of the 2020 Prism Award. A prism reflects light and turns it into a Rainbow. The Prism Award is given in recognition of an outstanding Rainbows’ staff member who reflects quality and value in the work they do with children, families, and the community on behalf of Rainbows United.
“One thing that gives value to my job is the moment when I am explaining how our program works and how we support parents,” said Mindy. “I see the parents relax and I see hope come into their eyes as they realize that at Rainbows they have a team of caring professionals to support them. It’s as if you hear them say ‘I don’t have to do this alone anymore’.”
Mindy has worked at Rainbows since 2016. She has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Nebraska and brings experience from working as an ECSE classroom teacher, a traveling Special Education teacher, and a home-based Early Childhood teacher. She also worked with Heartspring in Wichita as an Autism Specialist.
“I had some amazing teachers while growing up,” said Mindy. “They showed me that by caring about others, you could make a real difference in a person’s life. These teachers’ kindness changed my life. Then I had the opportunity to volunteer at an Easter Seals Camp. I quickly learned how much I enjoyed being able to help others and make a difference in their lives.”
“My biggest achievement is that I get to make a difference in the life of a child every day,” said Mindy. “I cannot think of anything greater in this world than making a difference for a child.”
Pre-pandemic, Mindy would pack her car each morning with what she needed for the day, and then drive to multiple houses and daycares. At each home or daycare, she would have the joy of partnering with parents and caregivers as they work with children to improve each child’s development.
Since the pandemic started in March, Mindy connects with her families and caregivers on video calls. “The end goal is the same–being a partner in helping them to improve the life of each child,” said Mindy. “I listen to their concerns and then brainstorm with parents on how they can make changes that will help their child to grow.”
“I love it when a parent is excitedly telling me about something new that they were able to help their child learn,” said Mindy. “The parents see how they can be the one to create change in their child’s development and then they feel empowered to teach more things to their child.”
“Mindy shows each one of her families the same level of respect and compassion, cheerleading the parents’ accomplishments as well as the child’s, providing a compassionate listening ear when times are hard and connecting to community supports when needed,” said Alexia Foster, Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services Coordinator.
“Mindy supports her team members in the same way she supports the families she is working with” added Alexia. “Her kind and unassuming nature means that her team members always feel comfortable reaching out to Mindy, whether to ask for her expertise when working with a child on the spectrum or to ask for a practice partner when technology presents unique challenges.”
“I have an amazing team of coworkers that bring compassion and laughter to all we do,” said Mindy. “I have enjoyed learning from each of them. As we learned how to do tele-health in the first days of the stay-at-home order, we leaned on each other a lot as we all learned new technology and new ways of interacting with children and parents. We shared many laughs and a few tears as we figured things out. It’s amazing to work with a group of professionals that care about and support each other.”
This year Mindy started to do some gardening as a way to get outside every day. She also enjoys baking and cooking. “My biggest hobby is spending time with my family,” said Mindy. “My husband and I have been married for 20 years and he is the love of my life. We are two opposites that bring out the best in each other. I have a caring and kind 16-year-old daughter who loves art and running.”