Unique Partnership Filling Need in Early Childhood Education

FAYETTEVILLE –Camisha Monroe of Fayetteville made up her mind that it was time to take action and return to college to complete her degree.  The 39-year-old single mother of two, works two jobs.  She is the lead daycare teacher for an after school daycare in Hope Mills.  She also works as a youth specialist with Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA).  However, she desired more.

“I came to the point in my life where I felt that I wanted more for myself and my children,” she said.

Like many, Monroe worried about paying for college, getting childcare while she was in class, and being able to juggle work and school.

“A University of Mount Olive (UMO) representative came to the childcare center where I worked and talked with us about their evening college,” she recalled.  “At first I hesitated about attending college because fear had gripped me.  So, I didn’t apply. Then one day, I just got tired of fear and I called UMO.”

Monroe enrolled in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program offered in conjunction with the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County, Inc.  According to UMO officials, the bachelor’s degree completion program is the only arrangement of its kind in the state with a university offering classes at a Partnership location.

The program is designed to provide graduates with the knowledge base needed to facilitate quality instruction in developmentally appropriate ways to the early childhood population.  Classes meet one evening a week from 6 to 10 PM at the Partnership for Children’s Family Resource Center at 351 Wagoner Drive in Fayetteville.  Students entering the program with an associate’s degree can obtain their bachelor’s degree in about two years. Students have the option of completing a non-licensure and a licensure program, depending upon their need.

“As school began, I got nervous and kept saying I’m too old to be doing all of this,” she admitted. “However, when I tried to quit school, I couldn’t. I guess my mind had not caught up with my willpower to go yet.”

Monroe’s willpower was not the only force working in her life.

“God worked everything out for me,” she said.  “My mom agreed to babysit my son when I am in class, and the Partnership pays for one course and books for both the fall and spring semesters. It was like God was waiting on me to step out on faith.  I stepped out, and He has encouraged me to keep going.”

It is still a struggle juggling two jobs and being a single parent. However, it is one worth pursuing.

“There was a time when I just wanted to quit, but I have had to learn to keep pushing through it,” Monroe said.  “I just keep reminding myself that when I graduate I will reap the benefits.”

Monroe’s future career goals are to graduate from UMO with her bachelor’s degree in ECE and work as a lead kindergarten teacher in the Hoke County School system.

“I may even decide to pursue my master’s degree,” she said.

For more information about the ECE program with the University of Mount Olive and the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County, Inc., contact Evening College Director Dr. Paul Rutter at PRutter@umo.edu or call 919-658-7775.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit www.umo.edu.