Charity Yang, Director of the St. Theresa Opportunity Center in Taiwan, recently visited with our students and staff. She spent the morning participating in our programs, and then shared beautiful gifts that she had brought from overseas. It had been two decades since Ms. Yang last visited our Center, and her return was a very special event for all of us!
From 1993-1995, Ms. Yang was a graduate student at Cardinal Stritch University, studying Early Childhood Education. To put her college learning into practice during those years, she volunteered at St. Francis Children’s Center one morning a week. Her time in our inclusive classrooms had a profound impact on her view of special education. She has applied many lessons that she learned at St. Francis Children’s Center within her organization in Taiwan.
“At St. Theresa Opportunity Center, we have implemented your core belief that all children can learn, If we can learn how to teach them. It is an important concept that I learned from working at St. Francis Children’s Center, and now I share it will all of our staff. It is a reminder that we must keep challenging ourselves to find new ways of teaching and working with children and families. It is part of everything we do,” Ms. Yang told our staff.
St. Theresa Opportunity Center serves children with special needs through a continuum of programs, including early intervention services, childcare, and family support. Ms. Yang told us about many similarities that exist between our agencies: “Both of our centers are warm and inviting. We have colorful, well-designed spaces that the children enjoy exploring. Of course, what is most important for both St. Francis Children’s Center and St. Theresa Opportunity Center is that each child is respected as an individual. We create safe spaces for children of all backgrounds and all needs to learn and grow.”
Ms. Yang was excited to see that St. Francis Children’s Center has continued to evolve to meet the needs of families in the Milwaukee area. “Your center is even more colorful and alive than the last time I was here! It is such a beautiful environment. I was also impressed with the new Family Activity Center. It is wonderful to see your organization using resources, space and expertise to deepen your impact in the community.”
We look forward to continuing our friendship with Ms. Yang and St. Theresa Opportunity Center. We are excited to share best practices, brainstorm program ideas, and engage in a cultural exchange.
It is so rewarding to know that the incredible work that happens at St. Francis Children’s Center is inspiring programming across the world.
By Mara Dučkens, Executive Director