Unsung Heroes #141

As “home schooling” parents all across the country have found out these past few weeks, teachers are heroes. Suddenly, everyone who hasn’t been inside a classroom for years realizes how many moving parts make up just one class. And how many classes make up just one day.

But it’s one thing to teach English or physics to teenagers, or even reading or math to elementary schoolers.

What about kids who are much younger — who need constant, immediate attention that childcare providers have offered so amazingly for so long?

Alert — and hugely grateful — “06880” reader Keri Stedman admires Eileen Ward. For 39 years, she’s served as director of  the Children’s Community Development Center, on Hilllspoint Road.

“There’s no one I’d rather see at the helm during this crisis,” Keri says.

Eileen Ward

Though the school has closed, Eileen encourages teachers of all age levels to find ways to stay connected. There are emails, texts, Facebook groups, livestreams and Zoom calls (“yes, even for my 2-year-old’s class!”).

The music teacher has weekly online sessions. The art teacher shares creative ideas for the kids. The phys. ed. coach posts workouts.

“It was all put together so quickly,” Keri says. “And it has been so incredibly impressive and useful.”

“As a mom juggling homeschool for 1st and 2nd graders, plus my toddler, CCDC’s support has been invaluable. Eileen and her staff truly are my heroes.”

In fact, just minutes before writing this, one of the teachers FaceTimed Keri to make sure she was doing okay (and to see how all her children were doing).

Noelle, talking to Keri’s 2-year-old.

“Noelle talked to my 2-year-old as the little one ran all over the house with the phone,” Keri reports. “She offered to read to my elementary school girls, and engage them in any way she could.

“She even offered to put together work packets for them. Then she sent me art ideas for outside projects, like puff paint for the driveway.

“We are so lucky to have this center in Westport, and Eileen’s leadership. She truly leads by example. She has kept everyone connected to CCDC steady, calm and positive.”

In fact, Keri says, “I believe Eileen is at the school today, working.”

Thanks, Eileen — and your entire staff — for your care, concern and compassion for all your kids (and their families). Keri is right: You are our Unsung Heroes!

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)

14 responses to “Unsung Heroes #141

  1. Becky Martin

    Eileen is not just an unsung hero, but a town treasure! She teaches everyone she knows about kindness and compassion. We have so many memories of happy happy days learning and growing at CCDC.

  2. Lauren Ward

    Eileen is amazing!

  3. Diane Johnson

    Eileen is indeed a town treasure! We have such wonderful memories from our son Michael’s enriching and supportive years at CCDC. A true unsung hero; Elaine, thank you for your selfless dedication to helping steer future, compassionate generations.

  4. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    Yay! I love that Eileen is lauded here! She so deserves it. My first job with children was at CCDC decades ago and Eileen was a magnificent mentor.

  5. Lynn Riegler

    Eileen is a wonderful Director and friend! She will do anything to enrich the lives of the families in her program at CCDC!

  6. Donna and Jay ODonnell

    We love Eileen and the entire CCDC team!
    She taught the kids and the parents. 16 yrs+ have passed but Eileen (abd her team) are still connected to all families she touched.

  7. Alison Luisi-Tighe

    Unsung hero indeed! Eileen has created a magical learning space at CCDC and no surprise to me that her wonderful, caring and inspiring staff is continuing to do so virtually in these trying times. We ❤️Eileen and CCDC teachers, cheers to you all.