The votes are counted and our first Story of the Month winner is Denise Hall! The infant teacher at the USDA Child Development Center in Washington, D.C., goes above and beyond in building great relationships with her families. Next week, you’ll receive a Gratitude Game card with Miss Denise’s winning story. Share the card with your teams to inspire the way they live out our Service Values every day! Read more about Denise and her relationship building skills below.
LaLisha Jackson knew that Kendall’s first day in care would be tough. Kendall has always had trouble with transitions, and it turns out LaLisha did that morning, too. After dropping Kendall off in the infant room, she couldn’t help but cry. Luckily, Denise Hall, Kendall’s teacher, was there to comfort LaLisha and assure her that everything would be ok.
Later that day, Denise and Kendall used FaceTime to show LaLisha just how much fun they were having.
“I saw my baby’s face and I was like oh my God!” said LaLisha. “Kendall was smiling and having fun. I’ve never had an experience like that.”
Going above and beyond to connect with her families is second nature to Denise, who is the first Service Values Story of the Month winner.
“I have a lot of stories like this,” said Denise. “Sometimes when you’ve been home with your baby it’s hard to leave her, and you cry. I called [LaLisha] in the middle of the day to let her know ‘your daughter is fine, she’s loved, we’re having a great time, and she’s happy!’”
For 17 years, Denise has made parents and children feel right at home in her infant room. Building strong relationships with families is something she’s always done, and something she tries to pass on to other teachers at the USDA Child Development Center in Washington, D.C.
“She’s a great team player,” said Center Director LaTonya Brown. “She’s always chipper and positive, that’s just her! I’m ecstatic to have someone like her here.”
Denise is a mentor to the four other teachers in her infant room.
“When I talk with my co-teachers I encourage them to have confidence when they communicate with parents,” she said. “Make sure they know that their baby is happy. Because if baby is happy, mom and dad are happy, and that means we’re all happy.”
Positivity and love are at the heart of Denise’s teaching philosophy. And it doesn’t go unnoticed.
“Denise always makes me feel at ease,” said LaLisha. “She made that introduction. She saw me crying and made that connection with me. It touched my heart.”
Though Kendall has since made another transition to the toddler room, Denise finds time to visit with her and support her as she learns and grows.
“Kendall is potty training now,” said LaLisha. “Denise goes into the toddler room to sing songs with Kendall and help her relax. Denise really makes her feel comfortable.”
Denise says her favorite part of teaching is having the opportunity to show every child in her care love.
“Children are our tomorrow,” she said. “I love working with infants, it’s a beginning in life for them. It’s a great opportunity to nurture them and give them plenty of love.”
The love she gives to her children and families isn’t just what helped Denise win Story of the Month, it’s also what makes her a remarkable teacher.
“Denise is just wonderful,” said LaLisha. “Her caring and loving attitude makes a world of difference.”