My First Post – The 20th Reunion at the John Hancock Child Care Center

What an amazing day!

On a recent summer afternoon – a Saturday – when so many other events are planned, they came to ours! About 1,000 people attended. Unbelievable! The line to the front door stretched down the block! The perfect celebration for our 20 years as the John Hancock Child Care Center (JHCCC). And, it was quite the party!

I’ve started many such programs during my career – for businesses, hospitals, communities. I’ve opened these programs, stayed on as the Director, grown them, managed them for a time, and then moved on to the next adventure. You could say that I was the “founding mother” of this Boston-based, corporate-sponsored, child care center. For I opened its doors as the Director in 1990, grew it to its 200-child capacity (with the assistance of some of the finest early childhood teachers in the area), created a leading edge early childhood program for the infants through kindergartners, managed and maintained its high standard of early education and care and, now, 20 years later, held a reunion for all who have been a part of this experience. The response was overwhelming!

What a rare privilege to create a community for thousands of young children, new parents, and young educators. And, what an honor to teach, mentor, manage, and lead!

That Saturday was a testament to a partnership, a team, a program – one that evolved from an idea whose time had come. We created a place where children thrived and where parents had complete trust. We worked together and made magic!  And, on that Saturday, I heard this over and over again as I greeted our families of the last 20 years! The children are now six to twenty-five years old – no longer the infants, toddlers, and preschoolers that we cared for. They are poised and kind and funny and grown up – and not unlike the young children they were – just much, much  taller.  And, we spent hours talking about their lives, what they were now doing, what they enjoyed, their hopes and their dreams.

And, it was one of the best days of my life.

To re-connect with all of these children (now young men and women) and their parents after all of these years – I hadn’t seen most of them for ten+ years – was amazing! So, you can imagine how overwhelming our party was! They came back to the Child Care Center. They came to play – in their old classrooms, on the playgrounds – and they came to see their teachers and old friends and to re-connect!  And, it was extraordinary!

There were pockets of people in all of the sandboxes – short and tall people sliding down the “roll-y” slide on the playground – others just hanging out. Little kids ran in and out of the crowds with their “big chocolate chip cookies” (a staple at our Center). People sat on the stairs leading to the second floor, hung out at the Garden, in Infant and Toddler Squares, and in the Common where the art show was taking place. And, there were people visiting with one another in each of our eighteen classrooms. They found places to sit, to be – anywhere, everywhere! And, it was like old times. A homecoming, of sorts. Just as they did when they were little, kids ran to one another when they recognized a familiar face. There was lots of hugging, and laughter, and, yes, tears. It was an emotional day for most of us.

And on Saturday, the stories were told – the old, familiar stories, the moments parents and children remember, the stories that make up the unique fabric of this place. These are the never-to-be-forgotten memories that we will cherish. For each family, there is a story. And, once again, I listened and took it all in. Every guest on Saturday wanted to share – and I loved hearing about their kids! The kids had their memories, too – which were often poignant, and amazingly detailed (given that they were so young when they were with us). And, the parents remembered the best parts of our time together. Things that I had long since forgotten were what parents remembered and took from this experience. They were shared from deep within.

What really hit me was the fact that we had made such a difference – a positive impact – in the lives of so many. I was truly unprepared for story after story. That our program had been a godsend for so many parents, that they had learned so much from us – that, while we were doing our jobs, they had been watching, listening, and learning how to parent. That our homelike environment had become an extension of their homes, and that we had become the extended family for so many. That our early childhood program had made a difference in the lives of their children. That they had been well prepared for school and for life when they left us! That the children had done so well – and that a lot of the credit belonged to those who had worked with their kids while they were with us.

We heard this again and again and again on Saturday. And, it was so good for all of us to hear and to take in. The validation was real, honest, and freely given. Wow, all of our time, effort, and love given had been worth it!

We leave a legacy at John Hancock. And its memories are forever a part of our being. What an extraordinary adventure it has been! Teaching young children is an honorable profession, and often, in the day to day, we tend to forget that what we do and how we do it will long be remembered by our children and their parents. As we learned on that Saturday, we may forget, but they will not. It is an awesome responsibility, a humbling experience, and life-changing work. And, it demands the very best we have to give.

I invite you to share your story from the reunion and/or your days at the John Hancock Child Care Center. Think of this space as a virtual extension of the extraordinary experience that has been the JHCCC. And, let’s stay connected!

Your comments are most welcome.

Stay tuned for August’s Post.

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21 Responses to My First Post – The 20th Reunion at the John Hancock Child Care Center

  1. Jeff Bennett says:

    Congrats on the blog! Congrats on twenty years making such a big impact on the lives of children and families @ John Hancock. Proud of you! Look forward to your next post! Jeff

  2. Mum,

    Site looks great! Congratulations on your first post; a great beginning to your next adventure. 🙂

    Jon

    • Marcia Hebert says:

      Jon – Thank you! My real adventure began with you – a few years back!! You got me hooked on early childhood and my passion and interest has never waned.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Hi Marcia! How very exciting. This is great, and yes, of course I cried as I read your beautiful story about the reunion! It was a very surreal day; almost like being in a dream…..visions of the the past, present and future right in front of our eyes. More emotional and meaningful than any of us could have imagined. Makes me so proud to know that we all created such a wonderful place for children and parents AND teachers. Congrats on your blog- I wish you much success in your next adventure…..time for all of us to turn the page and begin a new story….
    Thanks for making the “chapters” of our JHCCC novel so memorable!
    🙂 Carolyn

    • Marcia Hebert says:

      Carolyn – It is quite a “book” – this JHCCC adventure! It has also been a Team effort – it couldn’t have happened without the passion for excellence that you brought and then instilled in each of your teachers. You are a fabulous supervisor! And it has been my greatest joy to have you as a peer. Maybe another “novel” for us?!?

  4. Bonnie Buckley says:

    Marcia,

    Congratulations! Not only on this awesome blog, but, on the many years you were at JHCCC, and on the many, many lives you and your staff have touched in such a positive way. I loved reading your blog. It is so true, what you wrote, about what our responsibilities are as child care providers. I agree 100% with everything you have written. And I am thankful to this day, to have gotten off to such a wonderful, positive start, under your supervision, 26 years ago. You were a great manager and mentor. I owe a lot of who I am as a child care teacher, to you and your acceptance of me as staff, “team” member, all those years ago. I learned so much from you. I took a lot of what I learned from you, and used it in raising my own 3 children. Now, after taking 19 yrs. off to raise them, I am back in the child care field. And still love what I do. And I continue to learn. There will always be something to learn.
    I think of you often, Marcia. I think back fondly on all the memories of my time at BCDC under your supervision. So, now, I thank you, again. For who you are. For all you have done for so many people, and mostly, for how you have touched the lives of so many, many children and their families in such a positive way. Including mine.
    I look forward to finally coming to see you at the end of the month!
    Congratulations on 20 years of a leading edge child care program! Boston will surely miss you!! Best wishes to you and your family in the future!

    With love,

    Bonnie

    • Marcia Hebert says:

      Bonnie – How time flies! It seems like only a few years ago. I am humbled by your words – and so very pleased that our professional paths will once again cross. See you very soon – in Boston. And, we can pick up where we left off.

  5. Regina Feliz says:

    I can truly and honestly say that working with such an amazing team has made a difference in my life. I have learned a lot from my co-teachers, directors, parents, and most of all the children. I will be miss working at JHCC but glad that I will still have contact with my friends from JHCC.

    Congratulations on the blog Marcia!!

    • Marcia Hebert says:

      Regina – Thank you. And, give that sweet new baby all you can. You were a lovely, thoughtful teacher, and now, a wonderfully sensitive and gentle mom. What a lucky little one to have chosen so well!

  6. Kelsey says:

    It was a great day and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it. I’ve added you to my list of great blogs, hope to get the word out!

  7. MaryAnn Zlotnik says:

    Congratulations on the blog and all the accomplishments at the child care center! I really enjoyed reading your blog! Teaching is truly an honorable and rewarding profession. I share your love of teaching and feel blessed as I know you do to have been part of so many children’s early years in education! Wishing you success in your new adventures! See you soon, Mer

    • Marcia Hebert says:

      Mer, I can’t think of a more noble profession – and I am so encouraged when I meet and work with the next generation of passionate teachers! They are the cream of the crop – and they now have the ability to inspire and set the example for the next generation. Powerful stuff, huh?

  8. Diane Bible says:

    Very impressive!! A facility of this caliber would have been a Godsend when my children were little.

    Congratulations!

    • Marcia Hebert says:

      Thank you, Diane. I know all too well – must be why I feel so passionate about the Quality part! I just think that children deserve the very best we have to offer – the very best!

  9. Tracey Bennett says:

    Hi Marcia – sorry this is so late in posting. Sincere Congratulations on all you’ve done and about to do! You are one amazing woman and probably the best role model, mentor, and friend a person could have (not a bad sis-in-law either). I wish you the very best in discovering the next chapter of your life. If it’s anything like the last 20 years, the next 20,30, or more, should be even more interesting and exciting!

    Much love,
    Tracey

  10. Donna LeMoine says:

    Hi Marcia, Sincere congrats on every thing you have done. Marcia you are the mother of JHCCC. Marcia because of you the center will always be remembered….. as the BEST Child Care center. You are an amazing woman, I wish you the best in every thing you do. Love, Donna

  11. jessica prats says:

    Hi Marcia! I hope you still remember me , I was a teacher at JHCC when it first opened in 1990 and also the mother of /roberto fishman, omg how I would have loved to be there celebrating with you the 20th year anniversary. My son now lives in Boston and works for an IT recruiting company. I will be visiting him in two weeks, please keep in touch , I owe you my career as a teacher. You and the center were the best things that ever happened to me!

    Love always,
    Jessica

    • Marcia Hebert says:

      Jessica -Of course I remember you! How wonderful to be re-connected after all this time. Do keep in touch and let me know what is going on in your corner of the world! How very nice to hear from you!!!

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