Norma Collado has a story similar to those of many staff members at KHCC: she began as a parent and became a member of the agency's leadership team. Through her work as the Early Childhood Health and Safety Director, Norma makes sure our youngest students are safe and receiving the nutrias food needed to grow and thrive.
For Women's History month, we asked Norma, along with other women at KHCC, to share her story in her words. To support our work and programs, please consider donating to our programs. Here's some of Norma's KHCC story:
Where are you from originally?
I came from Mexico City 30 years ago and am proud of the accomplishments I have made in this country. I obtained a degree in Pedagogy and was a first and second grade teacher in a very impoverished community. I graduated from Lehman College in 2014 with a degree in Sociology and Health Education. I was able to accomplish this because Kingsbridge Heights Community Center gave me the opportunity to attend school.
If you could only use two words to describe yourself, what words would you use?
I love what I do. As a resident of the community myself, I am passionate and committed about advocating for the families and children of the Bronx.
How did you find out about KHCC?
Through the Head Start Program, I started the lifelong collaboration with Kingsbridge Heights Community Center I still have today. My son attended the Head Start Program and I was a parent volunteer in the classroom. KHCC encouraged me to apply to a position that was being offered as a Health Worker and the rest is history. I then transferred, and for six years, I was a UPK teacher. My professional journey continued and I became the Family Childcare Director and then the Health and Safety Director, a position I still hold today.
What do you believe your impact has been at KHCC?
My impact at KHCC has been a positive one. I have implemented healthy nutrition initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles and eating habits in our community. Our food menus celebrate the diversity in cultures in our community.
Students I taught have gone onto college and are now interns at KHCC. Some of the students I taught also have brought their own children to our programs. I see and interact with parents whose children went through the KHCC programs and they have nothing but positive things to say.
I believe that places like Kingsbridge Heights Community Center is definitely the stepping stone for a lifetime of positive adventures!