Saying ‘Thanks!’

Guy Lee children and Kids Club leaders

Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is April 24-28. To celebrate, we want to introduce you to some of our outstanding team!

Erin Rice

Purchasing Clerk
Has worked with Willamalane for nine years

Duties: When Erin introduces herself to someone new, she jokes that she is a “professional shopper.” This is mostly true; Erin spends two to three days per week shopping for all the supplies that Willamalane needs to operate programs from preschool to Kids Club and beyond. She heads up the organizational system in the staging area at Bob Keefer Center, which has saved the district tens of thousands of dollars in reduced supply waste since it was initiated. Erin accounts for the items purchased and used, finds good deals on requested supplies, and creates a snack menu per USDA regulations for a number of programs and helps shop and prepare snacks for at least 150 kids per week.

Erin’s biggest challenges in her work are the sheer volume of tasks she tackles in a day.  This is especially prominent in the summer, when she needs to supply materials for five different summer camps with weekly turnovers.

Erin’s favorite part of her job is when she prepares snacks for preschoolers, and they run up to her and call her “snack lady.” Since she mostly works behind the scenes, she especially appreciates recognition from the staff she helps.

Thank you for being such a stellar teammate, Erin!

Shawnee Gallaher and Arielle Squires

Program Leader and Activity Leader, Kids Club, Maple Elementary School
Have worked with Willamalane for two-and-a-half and one year, respectively

Duties: Shawnee and Arielle work in tandem to provide after-school care to Maple Elementary’s Kids Club students. Shawnee (left) does administrative work, making sure programs are implemented and curriculum is followed. Arielle works with the kids, supervising games, crafts and science projects.

Shawnee and Arielle’s biggest challenges are the “off” days when kids are acting up. The team appreciates  kids’ energy and creativity, but they say it can sometimes be difficult to navigate behavior issues. Their biggest priority is safety, and they say that Maple parents are fantastic to work with.

Shawnee and Arielle’s favorite part of their jobs is when they get a moment to really connect with a kid and help them grow. Sometimes, the kids they work with are confronted with life’s tough situations, like the death of pets or other family transitions. Shawnee and Arielle do their best to create an environment where kids feel safe to play, have fun and take their mind off things.

Ashlee Stoneburner and Kaitlyn Grady

Program Leader and Activity Leader, Kids Club, Guy Lee Elementary School
Have worked with Willamalane for two years and one month, respectively

Duties: Ashlee and Kaitlyn provide after-school care to students at Guy Lee Elementary School. Ashlee (left), the program leader, prints rosters, makes sure that the team is in compliance with USDA guidelines, completes the paperwork and communicates with parents. Kaitlyn, the activity leader, does crafts and activities with the kids she supervises.

Ashlee and Kaitlyn’s biggest challenges stem from the recent transition they had on their site. Ashlee recently became Program Leader, and she is working to grow into the more in-depth responsibilities of the position. Kaitlyn is also undergoing a learning curve and says her biggest challenge is making sure all the curriculum is implemented as intended.

Ashlee and Kaitlyn’s favorite part of their jobs is enjoying the strong relationships they get to build with their groups of students. Since Guy Lee’s Kids Club program is relatively small (about 12 kids per day), they both enjoy bonding with each student individually. Both women are enrolled in college, and they are both interested in child care and family/human sciences as their permanent career. They say that working with Kids Club affirms their decision to pursue this field.

Melissa Smith and Daisha Huntley

Program Leader and Activity Leader, Kids Club, Two Rivers-Dos Rios Elementary School
Have worked with Willamalane for three years and seven months, respectively

Duties: Melissa oversees the program, ensures that it’s running well, and makes sure it’s safe and fun for the kids and the staff she oversees. Daisha helps kids complete each day’s activities and ensures that kids behave safely as they have fun.

Melissa and Daisha’s biggest challenges are when kids are agitated or have conflict. Melissa says that although it’s a challenge, she understands that the kids are just learning to express themselves and they’re trying to help kids learn to express their frustrations in productive ways. Daisha says that she likes learning what kind of conflict resolution strategy works for each individual child.

Melissa and Daisha’s favorite part of their jobs is playing with the kids. Melissa loves playing games outside when the weather is nice, and Daisha likes racing and playing basketball and tag. They think that Kids Club is a great way to help kids be active and find safe, healthy ways to have fun.