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Meet Mahder: YWCA Minneapolis Teacher’s Aide and Early Childhood Advocate

By Emily O'Gara, YWCA Minneapolis
December 6, 2017
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Mahder Girma is one of our terrific teacher’s aide at YWCA Minneapolis Children’s Center at Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning in St. Paul. At 21 years old, Mahder immigrated from Ethiopia and has been working as a teacher’s aide for the past 12 years.

“When I came to the US, I worked two jobs. I never thought of college as a possibility for me.”

Mahder took child development classes in Ethiopia after high school and always wanted to work with children.

Advancing Her Teaching Career

“As a single mother of two young children, it’s difficult for me to work full time and attend college to obtain a degree in early childhood education.”

Mahder is working toward her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential so she can become an assistant teacher, which will be a more flexible option for her schedule.

ywca minneapolis early childhood education teacher

Learning Advocacy Skills with YWCA’s Public Policy Department

In 2017, Mahder participated in YWCA Minneapolis advocacy workshops where she saw how her daily work caring for young children connected directly to early childhood public policy at the state level. Working with our Public Policy department, Mahder learned advocacy skills to help amplify her voice. YWCA Public Policy staff supported Mahder in developing her story, in which she shared her personal experience as a teacher’s aide working toward her CDA.

Testifying at the Capitol for Early Childhood Education

Mahder courageously testified at the Minnesota State Capitol in support of legislation to fund our Early Childhood Education Teacher Workforce Development Program. She communicated the importance of the role YWCA Minneapolis Teacher Workforce Development Program plays in improving economic opportunities for teachers like herself in the early childhood education field.

Reflecting the Culture of Children and Families Served

It’s important for all children to interact with teachers who look like them. YWCA Minneapolis is committed to intentionally employing staff who reflect the cultural, linguistic, gender and racial diversity of the children and families served. This strategy models that people of all backgrounds and cultures can be successful adults.

Now Hiring!

There is currently a tremendous need for professionally qualified, diverse Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers in Minnesota who reflect the children they serve in the classroom. YWCA Minneapolis is working to fill this gap by creating partnerships in the community. These partnerships include preparing YWCA staff and families to advocate at the state legislature and share their stories to help increase the pool of qualified teachers in early childhood education.