Minnesota Community Education Association

Minnesota Community Education is Here for You!

Inspiring passions to ignite a future career.

As a mother and a staff member, I am proud to share my story of how ISD 728 Community Education programs impacted my son’s life. 

After he was born, I began looking for opportunities for him to grow and engage in our world since he would not be in a traditional daycare, nor would he have any siblings. At this time, I wasn’t yet working for Community Ed, but I was aware of their brochure which we fondly called “The book of fun”. Shortly after his first birthday, I joined the CE staff and started signing him up for as many opportunities as possible. 

At age 3, Tyler had a speech delay and some challenges with certain sounds. He started working with a Speech Teacher and within several years, he overcame those challenges and gained confidence. At the same age, he attended preschool with the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) group as a peer model. He learned social skills and shared his “age appropriate” behaviors with his classmates. Tyler continued as a peer model until it was time for him to attend kindergarten. My most cherished memory of his time as a peer model was when a hearing impaired classmate, who had never before been verbal, saw Tyler one morning and shared his excitement of seeing his friend by pointing and exclaiming, “TYLER”! They shared a friendly hug while us adults watched in awe. 

During elementary school, Tyler was exposed to classes and activities of every kind. He took cooking classes, art classes, STEM classes, music lessons, guitar lessons, swimming lessons, field trips, part in plays and learned a variety of sports. As an only child, I was afraid that he was missing out on so many things. In retrospect, each of the opportunities and people he was exposed to during his time participating in CE programs proved to be just the opposite. He was not missing out on experiences, he was immersed in his community and gained more skills than I could have imagined. He made friends everywhere he went and he was excited to learn new things. Because of Community Ed, he was able to try every activity imaginable to find his passions. 

During high school, Tyler followed in the footsteps of so many children and students of CE and became a member of the staff himself. He took the skills he learned and decided that he wanted to help younger kids share the same experiences. He started as an aquatics aide, moved up to Water Safety Instruction, and instructed youth in CE Rec sports programs. 

Tyler is now an adult and is taking the memories and skills with him to his next phase of his life. He learned that his passion lies in sports and he will be attending college to study exercise science. He has already shared his excitement of helping his coach teach an upcoming camp for young athletes – just like he did when he was growing up with Community Ed.

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