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Celebrating 20 Years of NJCDC’s Paterson Family Center Preschool

Celebrating 20 Years of NJCDC’s Paterson Family Center Preschool

October 6, 2023

In September 2003, NJCDC opened our new headquarters at 32 Spruce Street in Paterson. In addition to providing offices for NJCDC's growing staff, the new building also offered space for our new, free Paterson Family Center (PFC) preschool, which also welcomed its first students in September 2003. PFC provides 105 three- and four-year-olds with a safe space to grow, learn, and play.

On September 26th, we celebrated PFC's 20th anniversary with students, families, teachers, alumni, and friends. After welcoming guests, NJCDC Founder & CEO Bob Guarasci reflected on watching former PFC students grow up and achieve success in school. "It's gratifying watching the cycle of education for a beautiful young kid, age three or four," he said, "as they walk in here, as they leave two years later, and go on, ready to learn.

NJCDC's Chief Program Officer David Gelman then congratulated PFC's staff, including teachers, family workers, and support staff, who work hard every day to help Paterson's youngest students—and their families—succeed. He introduced Gianna Cedillo, a PFC alumna who returned to the preschool last year as a teacher's assistant, having the opportunity to help young students learn in the same space where she began her own education journey. The next speaker was Yokasta Adames, a Paterson parent who has sent three of her children to PFC. She said that she always recommends PFC to other families in the community, and she thanked PFC's family workers for always having the resources to help families succeed!

Guests next heard from Dr. Nancy Aguado-Holtje, the Director of Early Childhood Education at Paterson Public Schools. She congratulated PFC on twenty years of hard work in Paterson, saying, "We've come a long way, and we're just looking to keep improving, to make sure that every child that walks through that door has the best possible experience."

PFC's Director Maria Camacho then spoke about the school's value to our neighborhood and the sense of community felt by students, families, and staff at PFC. She then introduced three PFC staff who have been with the preschool since it first opened in 2003: Ms. Eloina, Ms. Maria, and Ms. Nina. Each teacher was joined by a small group of their students celebrating their contributions over the past two decades and then presented with a certificate of their achievement. Bob then presented a certificate to Ms. Lety, who has been a family worker at PFC for many years, helping families access resources and supports to make sure PFC students come to school ready to learn and play.

At the end of the school day, each student took home a commemorative teddy bear sporting a Paterson Family Center 20th Anniversary shirt! Likewise, each parent and guest received a commemorative mug as a token of our appreciation.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make 20 years of educating students at Paterson Family Center possible!

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