The Child Center of NY: How did your professional journey at The Child Center of NY begin?
Jaimee Diehl: I started in 2015 as Program Director at the COMPASS afterschool program at P.S.24 in Flushing. In August 2019, I had to take a leave of absence due to needing a bone marrow transplant. I was out for a year. When I was OK to return, my position at 24 was no longer available, so I was offered the position of Program Director at Flushing YABC. I have been here since 2020.
What inspired you to pursue a career in education?
I wanted to go into education since I was little. While at Queensborough Community College, I started working with adults and children (some as young as 2 months old) as a personal swimming instructor. I fell in love with teaching and working with youth. In terms of my academic background, I earned my master’s in education with a specialization in counseling from Hofstra University. I then moved up the professional ladder. First I worked at Huntington Learning Center, then I went on to direct, and teach in a preschool in Smithtown. Then I discovered The Child Center of NY. I am so happy to be a part of this amazing organization.
You have said your position at YABC is the perfect fit for you. Can you explain?
One of my brothers struggled in high school, particularly with test taking. He never graduated and ended up going for his GED. I found true joy in helping him. Ever since, I always wanted to work with youth that struggled. My passion is helping students overcome their obstacles, and to be as successful as they want to be.
YABC serves over-age and under-credited students. They are at high risk of dropping out or may have already done so. Because of my education and experience, I’m more equipped now to help these students graduate than I was when my brother was young. We have an amazing success rate: For the 2021-22 school year, we achieved a 91 percent graduation rate. The rate for students with disabilities was 83 percent, and the rate for English language learners was 84 percent. These figures represent individual young people who now have a better shot at achieving their goals and dreams. I love the work I do because we make changes in students’ lives on a daily basis.