The First Five

By Eileen Adams

The first time I met Ebonyse, she talked to me like I was the most important person in the room. But it didn't take me long to realize that's how she talks to everyone; whether age 5, 25 or 55, she genuinely cares what you have to say, what your story is, who you are. I suppose that's part of her job, but as a parent advocate for the East Durham Children's Initiative, Ebonyse goes above and beyond, as does her coworker and fellow parent advocate Avi Castillo.

To work with the two of them this semester was an absolute pleasure and incredibly eye-opening experience. I got to sit on the floor with them as they played with some of the most adorable children you've ever seen, listen in as they read Halloween stories in Spanish to parents and kids on a Friday morning, and talk with both of them about why exactly it is that they do what they do - I couldn't have asked for a more deserving subject of recognition. The work that these two women do to help families with children age 0-5 is impressive beyond a doubt, but the dedication that they each bring to every child they work with is even more so. East Durham is lucky to have the two of them prepping its kids for kindergarten.

Thank you so very much to EDCI, Ebonyse Mead, Avi Castillo and especially the families who graciously allowed me into their homes. Enjoy the show!