Discipline: Early Childhood Education
My name is Laura Valencia, I grew up in Morelia, Michoacan, a city four hours away from Mexico City. I moved to Maine with my family when I was 15 years old. Having arrived to the small community of Gouldsboro I realized the need for awareness of diversity and inclusion in the education system. One year after I arrived to Maine, I assisted my teacher, friend, and mentor, Candace Austin, to create Mano en Mano (hand-to-hand). Mano en Mano is an organization that is designed to provide services for migrant workers in the small community of Milbridge. Some of the services that we provided were English classes, translating services, Spanish classes, but most important a place where everyone could feel at home regardless of where they came from.
I graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in French. I studied in France my third year in college where I taught English and Spanish to fourth and fifth graders. After college I worked as a lead preschool teacher at Harbor House where I discovered my passion for working with children with disabilities. At Harbor House I had the opportunity to work with a child with cerebral palsy for two years. I currently work at Kidspeace where I am a one-to-one for young adults with autism. The majority of the clients I work with are non-verbal and low-functioning clients. A big part of my job involves collaborating with the team in creating a behavioral plan that best suits each client. With this training my hope is that I will acquire the necessary tools to make a bigger impact on those in need. Thank you in advance for the opportunity, looking forward to meeting you in the fall.