2010 TeacherCaregiver of the Year Nomination
: Joanna, mother of Owen and William
Names and Ages of Children
: Owen is 7 and William is 5
Length of Time your TC has worked with your family
: 11 months
Why did you choose to take time to nominate your TC
What qualities make him or her good fit for your family?
Brandi has been a true blessing to our family this year. She has a top-notch work ethic, a perfect blend of compassion and practicality, great judgment and a true desire to make a difference for my kids.
What are some ways in which your TC has really helped your children/family?
Brandi has been a tremendous help to my kids and to me in 2010.
William has cerebral palsy and does not walk or talk. When I hired Brandi, I explained I was looking for someone who would push him and help him achieve his full potential someone who would really see him as a "project". Brandi has gone above and beyond my expectations. She takes him to therapy and tracks his progress in goals at school, and then implements his therapies and skillbuilding exercises at home. When Brandi arrived in February, William was not able to push himself up from laying to sitting. Brandi practiced this skill with him every day, and within one month he was pushing himself to sitting up. I cried the first time I saw him do it! She has similarly been working with him on standing and now his legs are much stronger and he is able to stand for short periods of time. In addition, she has been working hard with him on feeding himself, and he has made tremendous progress under her guidance. She never gives up on William or becomes frustrated with his slow progress. Instead she seems to innately recognize that he must learn at his own pace and we need to support him in all ways that we can.
While Owen does not have as unusual of needs as William, Brandi has been wonderful with him as well. Owen is in second grade and is the youngest child in his class. Brandi helps him with his homework and enrichment activities, and he is getting all A's and B's and reading at a third grade level. She provides consistency and discipline with a firm but gentle touch, which is so important for a child of Owen's age. Owen struggles with having parents that are divorced, and Brandi is sensitive and nurturing in discussing these issues with him and communicating his feelings to me. Today is Brandi's last day with us before she is on vacation for 10 days for the holidays, and Owen was in tears this morning because he will miss her so much!
Brandi is also a tremendous support system for me. I am a single mom with a demanding career, and I need a caregiver who can be a partner with me when it comes to the kids. Her work ethic is impeccable she has never arrived less than 10 minutes early for a scheduled work shift or appointment. If I ask her to arrive at 7 am so that I can go the gym before work, I don't even have to set my alarm because I know I will hear her come in the house by 6:50 am! She asks for additional projects she can do to help around the house and with the children. She is proactive about making appointments, getting prescriptions refilled, studying for tests, etc. She is great at reminding me of upcoming events and engagements. I trust her and rely on her without question, which makes my life as a busy single working mom so much easier.
How is he or she different from other caregivers or teachers you have met
? Brandi doesn't treat this as a job, she treats it as a profession. She never leaves a task unfinished, and often e-mails me over the weekends to check-in about an important event for the kids or how a sick child is feeling she never seems to feel like she is off the clock. When I come home at night, she often stays for an extra 30 minutes to discuss important issues with the kids, such as William's therapies or how Owen is doing emotionally. In the past, I have had babysitters and nannies who seem to get a feeling of satisfaction from my children liking them. Of course my children like Brandi as well, but she seems to take her feeling of satisfaction from making them better people and helping them achieve their full potential, even if it means being strict or playing "bad cop" at times. I feel like she is a true partner in raising my children to be the best that they can be.
Please describe your overall experience with your nominee, in your own words
. I think the above descriptions sum it up -- we love her and are so grateful for her!!