Three years ago, Amaury arrived in the United States to reunite with his wife, Janette. His heart was filled with hope to provide his two daughters, Mia and Eliana a better future. With limited English skills, it was difficult to find a stable job that covered the expenses of living in Washington, DC. During those early months, Amaury was faced with many challenges that are not unique to immigrants and their families. Amaury felt confused, frustrated, and dispirited. He even had doubts if staying in Washington, DC with his family was a long-term option. At the time, Amaury’s oldest daughter was enrolled at CentroNía and to stay busy, he started volunteering at CentroNía and in his daughter’s classroom. What Amaury didn’t know was that this decision would change the course of his life—forever.

“CentroNía opened the doors for me and things started to change. I understood that every cloud has a silver lining,” says Amaury.

CentroNía staff recognized Amaury as an incredible asset to the community. He was dependable, kind, easy to work with, and eager to learn. Amaury was approached by CentroNía leadership and asked to join the team as a part-time teacher assistant. Amaury loved his new role and was inspired by the early learners he worked with. He wanted to better understand 0-5 growth and development as well as work full-time in the early childhood education field. To reach this new goal, Amaury enrolled in CentroNía’s Child Development Associate (CDA) Training Program to grow his skills and knowledge in early childhood education, while also obtaining the appropriate CDA credentials. CentroNía’s training program is based on a core set of competency standards which guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of children ages 0-5. Getting his CDA was a critical stepping stone in advancing his career. After completing the program, Amaury was hired into a full-time teaching assistant role at CentroNía and is certified to work in early childhood education centers in Washington, DC.

“CentroNía means help for Latino families like mine. They provide support to families in need – from diapers to job opportunities. Thanks to CentroNía I’m where I am today. I’m working towards my education and I can be an example that everything is possible and my daughters can achieve all their dreams,” says Amaury.

As parents, Amaury and Janette, feel fortunate to have their daughters attend CentroNía. Amaury’s oldest daughter was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States when she was four years old. At first it can be intimidating for any English language learner to be in a classroom where she/he doesn’t understand a word.

“Amazingly my daughter learned English in three months. The bilingual environment that CentroNía provides helped her to transition with ease into elementary school. At age 7 she is now fully bilingual,” says Amaury.

In a CentroNía classroom, early learners are fully immersed in both English and Spanish throughout the school day, laying a strong foundation for both school readiness and bilingualism. Their oldest daughter Mia graduated from CentroNía and is now in second grade and is part of CentroNía’s out-of-school time program during the school year, breaks, and summer. His two youngest daughters are 2 years old and 4 months old and both are enrolled in the CentroNía Early Childhood Education program. For Amaury and Janette, having a safe place where their daughters can grow and learn in a very intentional environment allows them to work full-time jobs with the peace of mind that their children are getting a comprehensive education, and offering them the space to grow and achieve their own dreams.

“Instead of being at home watching TV all day, my daughters are learning how to be good friends, eating healthy meals, learning new songs and games in two languages, and developing skills that will help them succeed and even fall in love with learning,” says Amaury.

Currently Amaury attends Carlos Rosario Public Charter School to improve his English language skills. He plans to attend college and he wants to major in Information Technology. He can see himself one day teaching IT classes. Amaury is grateful that CentroNía gives him the flexibility that he needs to continue his education and work full-time.

“I’ve always loved computers and I would learn all I can about them so that I can share my knowledge with the students,” Amaury says.

With your support CentroNía can further our work to provide affordable childhood education and support services to families like Amaury’s. Your support can give a child a life changing early childhood education.