Roberta Johnson has worked at the Hand-in-Hand Child Development Center on 74thStreet for more than seven years. She is the person who greets every single individual coming that walks into the building with the warmest smile and friendliest voice. Roberta is the employee every supervisor wants and wishes there were about ten more just like her. Since January, Roberta has been working as a Child Development Associate (CDA) in Bost’s ABC program. CDA is a fancy name for a teacher, and she stands out because she is one the best classroom teachers.
Before coming to Bost, Roberta worked at Whirlpool. When they began to close the factory in Fort Smith, she took the option of going to college. She went to UAFS and earned a dual Associate’s Degree in Psychology/Sociology and Health Sciences. When asked if she did not work at Bost what kind of job she might have, she said perhaps she might have been a nurse. Roberta said she is known as having a caring heart (and she does). Roberta wants to take care of others and make things right for people, even if it means listening to someone else. She just wants everyone to look at the glass half full.
Roberta was asked five questions about Bost and working at Bost. These are her thoughts and comments:
Question: How did you first get involved with Bost, and what sparked that interest?
RJ: I would drive by the building at 74thStreet, and I wondered what it would be like to work here. I really wanted to work in this building. I have been here now going on eight years.
Question: What has surprised you most about working with Bost?
RJ: I am amazed that everyone comes together to help a child. Teachers. Therapists. Admin. It really does take a village. The therapists are amazing at what they help a child to learn to do.
Question: What do you wish other people knew about Bost?
RJ: I wish people knew how caring we are. I wish they could come in and see the love and care. In the end, I wish they see the success of each and every child. If you have a child that couldn’t talk and now can or couldn’t grasp and now they can…if they could see all that, people would be amazed, like wow! It’s crazy now because when I see kids out in the public and I see something, I want to ask, “Hey, is your child getting therapy?” I think sometimes that if kids had been in the program earlier, they may have been able to do more to be ready for school.
Question: What’s the best thing that has happened since you started working with Bost?
I have met a lot of interesting people, parents and staff. I like meeting people and hearing their backgrounds and stories. This is my family; I think of the staff as my family.
Question: What do you hope will be different about the world we live in as a result of what you do here?
RJ: Acceptance. I hope there is more acceptance of people with disabilities because I think we still have that. Sometimes, people see kids and think, “Oh, they’re never going to be able to do…” How do you know they’re never going to be able to do something? Never limit a kid! I tell my kids that all the time: never put limitations on yourself. It doesn’t matter who says you can’t do something or what you cannot be. You just have to work for it. You may not ever get it, but you can say that you worked hard for it. So we never limit our kids, ever! You help them strive for whatever they want. You be there for them. You encourage them. You love them. You fight for them. You just go all in for them!