It’s More Than Just A Pizza Party
In November, 2014 I just stated providing TA to C M & I Daycare center. The center director, Linda Loftin, was out ill and her designee Portia Hinton was in the office that day. While I was working with Portia, one of the student, Malik Walker, came in the office and wanted to ask Portia a question. Portia reminded him that was supposed to say excuse me first. He did what she asked, asked his question, received his answer, and then returned to his classroom. When I returned to the center next week, I was in the office again with Portia. She stepped out to take a telephone call and Malik walked by the office, looked in, and said to me, “You are here again.” I responded, “Yes.” He then decided to engage me in conversation, asking me why was I there again talking to Ms. Portia. I explained to him that I was there to assist Mrs. Loftin and Ms. Portia make C M & I a better place. He said, “Ok.” When Portia caught him in the office, she asked him why was he out of class and he said he was looking for her. Portia asked him to go back to class but before he left he turned me and said, “You going to be here every week?” I said, “Yes.” He smiled and said, “See you next week.” For next four months, every time I came to the center, Malik made it a point to speak to me and I had to speak back. I found out that three of his siblings attend C M & I Daycare center as well. Malik made it a point that his brothers and sisters knew who I was.
Fast forward to March, 2015. I had to re-schedule my standing Tuesday morning TA session with Mrs. Loftin. I arrived at the center one afternoon around 3:00 p.m. When I walked in the door and turned to enter the office, Malik was in the hallway putting something in his backpack. He looked at me and said, “You are late today, you never come in the afternoon.” I responded, “So, you are keeping up with my schedule I see.” He said, “Yes.” I went in the office and started my TA session. The next week, I showed up at my regular time. Malik’s class was outside and true to fashion, he said, “You on time today.” I responded, “Yes Sir, I am.” He laughed and went back to playing.
As I thought about it, children are very inquisitive and impressionable. Even though I was there to provide business TA to the center director, little did I know, I was making an positive impression on a young mind. Even though he is too young to grasp what business technical assistance is, what a business plan and cash flow is about and how to calculate cash projections, one thing he did grasp, I was there to make his environment better. No matter how I felt before arriving at C M & I, Malik and later on his brother Israel, engaged me in some type of conversation that caused me to pause and say, “This is what it is all about.”
All the children at C M & I are loving and once they say my interactions with Malik and his siblings, they also wanted that same interaction. I knew that I did not have enough time in one day to personally sit and interact with each one so I decided to do something that would have a positive impact on each one. I decided to give them a surprise pizza party. With the permission and input from the Director, I planned the party. I asked the Director and Designee not to tell the children. On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, you would have thought each child hit the lottery. They screamed, jumped, ran up and gave me a hug all at the same time. The smiles on their faces said it all. Even though I was supposed to work with the Director that day on preparing a staff schedule that was outlined in PAS lesson # 6, I realized at that moment, the staff schedule could wait for another week. We ate pizza, talked and ate more pizza. After it was all over, all the children thank me and before I left, Malik said, “See you next week.”