< Back to 125 Faces of VOA

I’ve come such a long way since I was that shy toddler all those years ago.”

New York, New York – February, 2021

My name is Kirby.

When I walked into the Bronx Early Learning Center on my first day as an Assistant Teacher, it wasn’t my first time entering the school. In fact, I had been there many times before—as a student more than twenty years ago.

I was first enrolled at the BELC, a special education preschool program run by Volunteers of America-Greater New York, as a shy three-year-old with speech delays and other early learning challenges. My time at the school was life-changing, thanks to one special teacher, Marisol Morales, who was patient and went above and beyond to help me come out of my shell. She not only taught me basics—things like colors and numbers—she helped me gain the confidence I needed to eventually achieve my dreams.

I feel lucky to be able to give back to the school that helped me so much. It’s also a joy to reconnect with my old teacher, Ms. Morales. I love using my early experience as a way to connect with the children (I see myself in every single one of them), and whenever I have doubts about anything, like how best to help a student with his or her particular challenges, Ms. Morales is always there to give me advice.

I’ve come such a long way since I was that shy toddler all those years ago, and I owe so much of my success to The Bronx Early Learning Center and, in particular, my favorite teacher, Ms. Morales.

Skip to content