Catalina saw the merit of an education before she connected with LEO. As a student at North Shore Community College, she needed a place to leave her children while she took classes. A classmate from North Shore was coincidentally employed by LEO; she spoke so highly about the resources for children and families that Catalina felt compelled to pursue the lead.
Once she engaged with LEO’s child care programs, Catalina found there was also a job she could do at the agency, in between her course load, and while the children were at school. She accepted a position in the Transportation office, messaging between drivers, schools and parents to ensure students traveled safely and efficiently. That job would be the first of many at LEO.
Once Catalina graduated North Shore with her first Associate Degree in Management, she decided to return, earning a second Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. As a student, she worked as a classroom assistant. Ultimately, Catalina set her sights on obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree. When she made this decision, her daughter Clarinet was college age, but wavering in her commitment to higher education. “I told her if I am going you are coming with me!” Together, they made the weekly commute to Bay Path University. Catalina and Clarinet graduated in the same class!
In 2016 Catalina was promoted to Center Manager of the Blossom Head Start Center. She stands out as a role model for her dedication to teaching and learning. “LEO educated me as a professional, but they also made me a better parent. Family comes first with LEO; they always understood when I needed to care for my own children. That is something about the agency I really value.” Beside her eldest, Clarinet (now 25), she is mother to Georgie, Jr., 23, and Gealina, 15.