My Time with Thriving at Three

Have you ever walked into a room and there were instant cries and screams?

That completely describes my first day at Thriving at Three. My name is Kierra Boone and I have been interning this semester with the CNNC. I will be graduating from Appalachian State University in just a couple of weeks with a Bachelor’s in Social Work. My first day back in August began with a lot of nervousness on my part and a lot of screams on the part of the kids.

Thriving at Three (TAT) is a CNNC program that works with Latino families who have children ages four or younger who have not attended a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten program. My experience with that age group prior to interning with TAT was pretty limited.

Each Thursday we host a group with the mothers that focuses on parenting tips, other educational topics, and provides an opportunity for the moms to socialize. The children are in classrooms assigned by age – toddlers and infants. I was assigned to work in the classroom with the toddlers. Weekly, we create lesson plans so that the classes flow and there are activities for the children.

My first day working with Thriving at Three was not as bad as I thought it would be. I thought I would not be able to communicate with the mothers and children, because I do not speak Spanish. However, some mothers do speak English and there are still ways to communicate without speaking the same language. I would use hand signals, repeat myself, and have someone interpret occasionally. The children are so sweet and smart. We would sing at the start of class to engage them. In the beginning, the children did not know the songs, but now they will sing and clap along with us! To enhance their English, and for non-Spanish speakers such as myself, we would say a color or object in English and in Spanish.

I have learned so much from them and vice versa. It is amazing to see their progress from the beginning of the year to now. In September some children would cry for their mothers when we took them to the classrooms, but now most of the children do not cry. Most are excited to come with us. Some of the children have even created friendships with each other.

Not only has the experience with the children been great, but the experience with the TAT team has been terrific. The team includes two staff members, Krycya Flores and Veronica Gonzalez, four other social work interns and one Partnership to End Homelessness AmeriCorps Member. The bonds that I have formed with each person is remarkable. I will never forget them; we have definitely become a family. We care about each other and share what is happening in our lives outside of TAT. I enjoy spending every week with them and will be sad when I graduate. Krycya Flores, the coordinator for TAT, is absolutely amazing. She is a great leader and will help you with anything. She takes her time to provide you with the skills and knowledge to accomplish certain goals and tasks. She always tells us to let her know when we need something or are struggling with something. Veronica Gonzalez, the program assistant for TAT is so sweet and always tries to be positive. Veronica provides valuable feedback every Thursday that helps with home visits and helps in the classrooms. Overall, my experience with Thriving at Three has been amazing and I will truly miss everything about the program when I graduate.

Kierra Boone is a Bachelor’s of Social Work intern from Appalachian State University that interned with the CNNC in fall 2019.