Families at Stephens Elementary might remember Ms. Stephany when she was the site supervisor before the pandemic. Ms. Stephany is now a program manager overseeing the After School programs at Van Hise, Shorewood, and Randall elementary schools in Dane County.
Q1: When did you start working with Wisconsin Youth Company and what has been your favorite memory so far?
I began working with Wisconsin Youth Company in August 2018 as site supervisor at Stephens Elementary. I did that until the pandemic began and recently returned as program manager in August 2021.</p
My favorite memory is the After School Spring Fair event we had at Union South in 2019. All of the kids were so excited to show off their hard work to their friends and family members. It was an event that we as staff worked really hard for, and one that was rewarding at the end of the day.
Q2: What is the most important thing you learned as a child that still applies today?
Perspective-taking. When conflicts inevitable arose between friends and I, my teachers were the ones who encouraged me to view situations from a different perspective to engage in conflict resolution. I still apply those skills to this day with the children at programs, and with my relationships inside and outside of work.
Q3: Who was a mentor you looked up to when you were younger? Why did you look up to them?
When I was younger, I looked up to my middle school ESL teacher (shoutout to Ms. Mooney!). I had just moved to the United States from Mexico and my knowledge of the English language was limited. Ms. Mooney’s classroom was a place where I felt I belonged, no matter how different I felt. She always checked in on my family and I, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Q4: What is your favorite part about working with children?
My favorite part about working with kids is that it doesn’t feel like work! I enjoy the daily interactions in our choice-based programs; whether that’s playing a game of Connect 4, having spontaneous dance parties, or laughing out loud from the comments that sometimes get thrown my way. No two days are the same, and it makes my work feel enjoyable and meaningful.
Say “hi” next time you see Ms. Stephany!