Leading The Way Profile

Mayuk C Novembers Profile of the Month


In this month’s Leading the Way, we’re highlighting Mayuk Caye, Parent Educator with the Early Foundations Home Visiting Program.

Tell us a little bit about your background…

I graduated from Polson High School in 2010. From there, I went to Salish Kootenai College to fulfill my general education requirements in hopes to transfer out. In 2012, I started working for Early Childhood Services. During this time, I changed my major to Early Childhood Education and graduated in 2015 with an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I continued to work for a year, then transferred down to the University of Montana in fall of 2016. I was at the University of Montana for 2 years and graduated with a bachelors in Communication Studies. After graduation in July, I applied to be a Parent Educator with the Early Foundations Home Visiting Program. I have been here since August of 2018. This past year, I was promoted to the Program Manager.

Describe the work you do with families and children…

We are the Early Foundations Home Visiting Team. The program serves prenatal up to five years old. We serve Native American families who reside within the boundaries of CSKT, 1st gen. descendants of CSKT, along with other federally recognized tribes. We support a range of people including first time parents, at risk families, and grandparents who care for the target child. Our team uses an evidenced-based curriculum, Parents as Teachers, in every home visit. The program provides child development screenings, along with fun activities to engage the whole family. Our program seeks to improve maternal and newborn health, along with educating parents with positive parenting tips, home safety, school readiness, and help connect families with other local resources and supports. Our program is completely voluntary and free of charge

What do you think people misunderstand about the work being done with children aged 0-5?

In my time here at Early Foundations Home Visiting Program we were sometimes thought to be a temporary child care provider. We would go and do visits, but some families would think it’s okay to leave us with their child(ren) while they took a break. It took a few home visits for the families to realize we were there to engage the whole family with our activities we would bring. Then they started to see we were “playing” but also their child(ren) were gaining huge growth developmentally from our home visits.

How would you describe the most important work that needs to happen for young children today?

I think the most important work that young children need, is for them to “play”. There are so many benefits from playing. Children learn fine/large motor skills, communication skills, cognitive, social emotional skills and problem-solving skills.

If you could change one social factor impacting families and young children what would it be and why?

One factor I would change is making sure families are not homeless. They would be able to provide a safe space for their kiddos to feel safe, along with having their needs met daily.

What are some of the challenges and how do you deal with them?

One of the challenges I’ve seen during my time in this program is, families who do not want to see self-growth. They are content with where they are in life and want us for the “incentives” we have. They aren’t much, a book and maybe some diapers. We schedule visits with these families and then they cancel once we’re there or en route, or it’s a no show by the parents. The parents don’t realize if they put in the effort, it will be much more rewarding for themselves and for the kiddos. We’re here trying to help break negative family cycles.

What do you feel you personally get from working with families and children?

It is an awesome program and it is more awesome seeing these families, who are enrolled in Early Foundations Home Visiting Program, graduate from our program. Then, seeing them out in the community at reservation wide events, getting jobs, enrolling their kids into programs offered here within the community or on the reservation

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