Cydney Anderson has been the Child Care Specialist for the families of Sojourner House since 2018. She was studying elementary education at CCAC when she learned about the role, and she has been here ever since. While the moms of Sojourner House work and grow in their recovery journeys, Cydney and their kids have fun and grow, too.
We recently sat down with Cydney to hear about her role in her own words:
With about how many kids do you work?
Right now I have about three. On average, I tend to have about six. At one time it was about 12 of all age groups, from age 1 up to 12 years old.
In a room full of children there is no such thing as a typical day, but what does your day “normally” look like?
So I get everyone in the [child care] room and we say our good mornings. And then I ask them what they did the night before. Right now I have two one-year-olds and a three-year-old, so it’s usually me sharing more.
After that, we usually do an arts and crafts activity, or we do some learning with either colors, shapes, numbers, or practicing writing their names. Then it’s play time. Today, we built a town with some big blocks so the dinosaurs could destroy it. The kids knocked it over before the dinosaurs did, but it was still fun.
Around 11 am, we do a diaper change and we have a snack. Then it’s time for the moms to pick them up. In the afternoon they all come back downstairs and we have a nap. Then we’ll do story time and, if it’s nice outside, we go outside.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Oh, the children. I love these children. I really do. Like every single time there’s a new kid coming in, it feels overwhelming, but then after about a week, I think ‘they’re my best friend’. It usually takes them about a month to warm up to me. But I love when I’m sitting in my office, and I hear a little pitter-patter of feet come in. I’m excited to see them. They’re excited to see me. They’ll take my hand and walk me around.
The older children will come into my office to just sit and talk to me. Sometimes they just sit there. And sometimes they’ll tell me whatever drama is going on in their life. I love every second of it.
What is challenging about your job?
When it’s just me with the kids there can be moments where it’s overwhelming. One time I had two sets of twins, and a one-year-old, and a four-year-old. The four-year-old was rolling around, running, jumping, and having a good time. So then, of course, the twins climb out of her pack and play. If I just can’t wrangle them all, that’s when I have to ask for some help.
What is our proudest moment at Sojourner House?
My proudest moments are when the kids learn something. I’ve had kids that didn’t know how to write their names. But we worked on it. One time a mom came downstairs and said, “I had no faith. I was worried he was never going to learn how to write it. And now he’s upstairs writing it and spelling his name out loud.” And I was just like, I feel really accomplished. Or a child that wouldn’t talk when they first started the program, and when they leave we can’t get them to stop! It makes me feel really good.
Do you have a life motto or personal mantra?
“Tomorrow’s a new day.” That one’s my favorite. Sometimes I have to start chanting it around like 1:30 pm when there’s a kid having a meltdown. I look at them and they look at me and I just say, “Tomorrow’s a new day.”
What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t at Sojourner House?
I would be a barista. That is what I did before I came here. I loved every second of it. Even for the customers with the complicated drink orders, there was something about making drinks. It put me in a Zen. It was great.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to read and play video games. I like to hike. I love to travel.
Where would you like to take a dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be to England to see the Harry Potter museum there that opened back in 2020. I so want to see it!