Story and Photo By Kelli Reynolds/Staff Writer/@
After 10 years working in LBCC’s Child Development Center, Director Stacey Smith-Clark said on Friday, Feb. 12 she gets “to work to improve their lives as well” and she has been named National Coalition of Campus Children’s Center’s 2016 Director of the Year.
The coalition is a non-profit educational membership program organization that provides children with programs that focus on higher learning through new and varying opportunities.
Before her time at LBCC, Smith-Clark helped open a children’s center at Loyola Marymount University. She credits students and their families as the source of passion that gives her such a love for the job. “A lot of people get into this type of job because they love children, but besides that, I actually really enjoy the adults and getting to work to improve their lives as well,” she said.
Social work major Tracie Mendez has two daughters age 2 and 3 in the preschool program at the center. She said what she loves about it is “not only the childcare, but they learn social skills being around other kids.” She also added the program allows them time to be outside and be involved with activities when she doesn’t have the time.
The center at LBCC is “committed to enhancing the quality of life for students, children and families throughout the life span. Embracing the diversity each student brings, the department strives to empower individual learners through personal and professional growth,” as outlined by the LBCC website.
Smith-Clark said the center works to provide a caring, valuable learning environment, one where students can take their children during the day when they have classes. “I love seeing students being able to succeed because they have the childcare they need,” Smith-Clark added.
Smith-Clark will attend and accept her award during the 44th annual coalition conference in March in South Carolina.