Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet the Child Care Council Staff

Introducing Natasha H.

Belinda @ Kids Matter

Meet Natasha, the person working behind the Eligibility Specialist desk for the past year; serving the counties of Bell, Harlan, and Letcher. She said, “When I got hired on with the CCC, I went into training not having much of a clue what the job consisted of. I just knew it was something I wanted to give a try. I had seen the job posted on our local job search page and I applied. I am very thankful I did. I love my job. I love being able to be a help to families. I once heard that if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life. I feel like that’s where I am with the Child Care Council. I LOVE MY JOB!!”

Natasha has a beautiful, caring, and nurturing soul. I was in awe of her as she told me her life’s story. She is very family oriented and comes from a big family on her mom’s side. Her Mom has three sisters and three brothers who all have kids. When they all get together, which happens very often, “… there is never a dull moment”. She has four little cousins ages 2-7 that keep her on her toes along with her two nieces, Addison (5), and Elizabeth (2), and nephew Henry who is an infant.

She graduated high school and enrolled in Southeast Community College where she graduated in 2009 with an Associate’s Degree in Arts as well as an Associate’s Degree in Science. She said, “Probably one of the most proud moments of my life, was walking across that stage, getting my diploma. I felt like for once, I accomplished something that most don’t get to”.

When she graduated high school, she moved in with her Mamaw. After the passing of her grandfather, her Mamaw needed someone to help her out and Natasha quickly filled that role. She said, “I still live with her and take care of her. We had a scare in March and thought we were going to lose her, but the Lord spared her, and let us keep her a while longer. She and I are close; it’s like having two moms.”

Natasha says she is who she is, “…because growing up, I watched people I care about struggle. I grew up not knowing my biological dad. Never in my life have I met him and I’m 26 now. I know who he is, and I know his family. But, he lives in Chicago and never made an attempt to meet me until I was older. I decided not to meet him. Sometimes, I think it’s something I may want to do now that I am grown. But… I have mixed feelings about it. I have a step-dad, who has been in my life since I was a newborn. Growing up, I felt different because of that. It made me want to push myself so that when people would look at me, they couldn’t blame my life on my circumstances. I have a father who may not be blood related but he sure filled the father role. My Mom has always been there for me and did a very good job providing for me growing up. She fulfilled all of my needs, and most of my wants.”

When not at work what does Natasha do? She said she absolutely loves to cook and she gets a lot of her ideas from Pinterest. She is a Pinterest addict. I think many of us can relate to that. She also takes every opportunity she can to experience that care-free feeling in life. She loves the ocean and says, “There isn’t anything like the sand beneath your feet and the smell of salt water in the air”.

She said, “I would rather have a few best friends rather than lots of friends. There is a huge difference in my opinion. In fact, we are planning a get together soon. There isn’t anything like going to one of our houses after church, having some good food, and enjoying some night swimming. We act like kids when we are together and that care-free feeling is the best feeling in the world. It’s like for a couple hours… all of life’s problems just melt away.

Natasha loves children. She told me of a time when, after college, she got to go back to Wallin Elementary, her childhood school, as a substitute teacher. She said, “I learned, while working with kids, that some of them have a rough home life. I always hugged my school babies because most kids went without that at home. Hugs make kids feel safe; I learned that real fast. I would always take extra snacks to school for those who didn’t have a snack at recess. One thing I learned about teaching was that it wasn’t about the pay; it is about making a difference in those kids’ lives. When I’m around children, I encourage them. The sky is the limit. Go for what you want in life.”
I want to close this interview with a very powerful and touching quote from Natasha. I hope it touches your heart as much as it did mine. “Life is better when you are laughing. Make the best of what you have and be thankful… because, there are some that would be pleased with just a little of what you and I have.”

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