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Adalinda is dedicated and ambitious- she had her daughter while in graduate school. Education is a major priority for her, and she wanted an early childhood program that was high-quality yet affordable and also worked with her schedule.

I was shocked at how difficult it was to find quality education that wasn’t cost-prohibitive,” said Adalinda.

Two years ago, she found the primarily-Latino Siembra Montessori program at Centro Tyrone Guzman, which she describes as a “diamond in the middle of the city.”

Greater Twin Cities United Way helps Siembra offer tuition options tailored to family circumstances, so parents pay what is realistic for them. Without these options, many children like Adalinda’s daughter would not be able to attend.

Somebody gave so I could have,” she said. “I really think Centro saved our family.”

As her daughter was learning and thriving, teachers also asked Adalinda to become a parent leader at school.

“I was used to being talked to, but here they think I have something to say,” she said. “It helped raise my self-esteem as a parent and community member, which was really significant for me.”

Now, Adalinda works as a high school therapist where she sees teens still battling problems stemming from childhood- reinforcing the importance of those early years.

“We spend a lot of time later in life trying to put band-aids on stuff that happened to kids- we work backwards,” she said. “But what if we invested in them at a very young age? I think if kids have a good foundation, feel safe, and gain confidence, it sets them up for many more years of success.”

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