This is Where I’m Supposed to Be: I am WAGE$ with Trudy Person

Trudy Person learned about the opportunity to receive education-based salary supplements from the Child Care WAGE$® Program when she started working at Saint Paul Presbyterian Day Care in Franklin County. Trudy said, “Child Care WAGE$® has been a financial blessing. I feel appreciated and recognized for my work by my director and WAGE$ is one way my director shows appreciation. I worked at another child care facility and was not told about WAGE$. My director tells new teachers about the opportunity, so I knew from the beginning and got my first check in 2005. I know other teachers in other programs who were not aware of WAGE$. For me to know as soon as I started working, that was so important. I knew my director really valued me to share that information.”


Education and learning are also valued in her center, and Trudy feels the same. “Our director encourages education and it’s good and helpful to have a degree,” Trudy said. “We continue to do training to keep learning. We are always learning to continue to grow and help the children grow. Education makes a difference. I felt better when I got my degree. I didn’t want to work with children without it. Experience and education combined really helps.” 


Trudy reminisced about how she got started in early childhood and why she pursued her degree. She said, “I was always the babysitter of the family. I realized how much I loved children and how much I learned from them. They are fascinating. One day I went to the field day for my nieces and nephews, and I decided to get out on the field and encourage them instead of just watching from the bleachers. Someone I met that day asked if I regularly worked with children and I said no. She said I should, and I held onto that thought for a long time. I started with information systems and computers and got an associate degree in that field, but I kept thinking about working with children. I went back to college to get my degree in early childhood based on the words of that woman I met. I had my degree when I started my current job and I’ve been here since 2005! I’m here because I prayed about what I should do, and this is where I’m supposed to be. I teach the children and watch them grow. I teach them how to be better in society. They are helping me too. It’s not just one-sided. I learn from them as well. We help one another.”


Trudy loves her job and she’s very grateful for the assistance she has received through the WAGE$ supplements. She said, “WAGE$ encourages me to stay. I love my job and my director, but WAGE$ is an important addition. It helps with personal needs and I’ve also purchased some things for my classroom even though I don’t have to do that. I want to give back. It helps with bills, gas, books, and I can help my family. I am so thankful for the years of funding I have received. I thank our local Smart Start and DCDEE to the highest, not just for me, but for all child care workers. I appreciate the care that they show us through these supplements, to help us financially, to make us more appreciative of our jobs.”


Patricia Privette, Trudy’s director at Saint Paul Presbyterian Day Care, is also very passionate about WAGE$. She is a constant advocate for her staff and believes in supporting them any way she can. “I tell them about WAGE$ when I orient them right off the bat,” Patricia said. “Trudy is a wonderful teacher. I love all my teachers. They have longevity here. I tell them about WAGE$ and encourage them to get education, using the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Program. I encourage them to participate. WAGE$ is extra income for my staff. It has been a blessing through the years. I support this program and what it does 100%. It enhances my staff’s ability to stay here on top of what we try to do to support them. They can use it how they need to. It is a blessing that this exists for the workforce. WAGE$ has helped us with longevity. My teachers have been here over 15 years and they have education. WAGE$ is a part of why they stay with me. Day care cannot pay what other industries pay and it is extra income that is much needed. I applaud WAGE$ for giving it to them. I tell other directors about this opportunity. I say, ‘Support your staff and get on WAGE$!’ You should see the look on my teachers’ faces when I tell them about getting the WAGE$ checks. It makes me feel good.”