Each year, Champions honors site directors who go above and beyond in creating a high-quality before-and-after school environment. Quality Achievement Award Winner Elena Sciuto, who leads the Champions program at Endeavor Elementary School in Orlando works hard to create a sense of community and togetherness for her students. With lots of love and positive reinforcement, Elena’s students learn respect and compassion. Elena’s done such a good job of fostering a community feel for her program that a former student came back to volunteer with her. Meet Elena below!
How long have you been with Champions?
This is my 9th year, I started in 2008.
What do you love most about your job?
I love working with kids and creating lasting memories. Five years ago there was a young boy in our program that was always very excited to be in Champions. He always participated in the activities and was very appreciative and respectful. We enjoyed having him in the program until it was time for him to go to middle school. Last year a very tall, handsome young man came to see us and asked if he could volunteer in our program. At first we didn’t recognize him, but then we realized that it was the same boy! He wanted to volunteer with us because he remembered how much fun he had in the program It was wonderful to see that we had made such an impression on him and that he was interested in helping other kids.
What Service Value resonates with you and why?
I genuinely care about every child in my program. I believe that every child deserves the best care and the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe and welcoming environment. I create that environment by teaching my children that team work and helping each other is a top priority. I make sure that every child feels like he or she belongs in the program. The children have input into our daily activities and we make sure that the children learn compassion and look out for each other. We teach them to respect everyone and we use a lot of positive reinforcement. We try very hard to discuss any negative situations so that children can see what they did wrong for themselves rather than us telling them their mistakes.
What advice would you give your colleagues?
I would say do what you love and what you are passionate about so every day you can make a positive impact with the children you care for. I’ve always loved caring for children ever since I was a teenager. As I became an adult, I held many different jobs but none of them were as satisfying as working with children. I enjoy when the kids are excited to come to the program or when we have a new students that starts the day upset and missing his family but then doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day. Those are the things that make me happy about coming to work and spending time with the kids and my awesome team!