| Special to Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Sue McGowan, of Binghamton, loves working with children so much that she continues to volunteer with them more than a decade after she retired from teaching.
She spends one day a week volunteering at Mom’s House in Johnson City, which provides free child care and early-education services to single parents enrolled in their own education program.
“I love the enthusiasm,” she said of the children who attend Mom’s House.
McGowan, who just celebrated her 12th anniversary at Mom’s House this past January, is one of approximately 30 volunteers who work in the classrooms or the front desk, put on workshops, or participate in mailing information or holding fundraisers. Another 20 volunteers help with special events or programs, said Kristine Cunningham, executive director of Mom’s House.
“Our volunteers are so important to our program, and we could not offer this service without them,” she said.
With the help of volunteers, Mom’s House can provide one staff member for every two infants, one for every three toddlers, and one for every four preschoolers. That’s a better than average ratio than the state mandated ratios of one staff to four infants, one staff to five toddlers and one staff to seven preschoolers, Cunningham said.
“This means very individualized attention for the children in our care,” she said.
Volunteers share their own knowledge, expertise and experiences with Mom’s House, Cunningham said.
“We are able to grow from the ideas, knowledge and talent that volunteers bring to our organization,” she said.
For example, McGowan brings decades of experience as a teacher to Mom’s House. She taught at two Binghamton elementary schools: the former St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School and Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. She now volunteers inside the classroom for 2-year-olds at Mom’s House.
“With 2-year-olds, every minute is brand new,” she said. “You’re always on your toes.”
McGowan gets down on the floor with her young charges and helps them to learn language, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, science and other subjects. She loves to see them grow, learn and change from week to week, she said.
“It’s just fun,” she said of working at Mom’s House. “It’s all play all …….