Speech of choice
Just about everyone has someone they look up to, someone who they consider their idol. For whatever reason someone in your life has undoubtedly had such an impact on you that you admire them deeply. For me that person is Kate Cozanni. Kate has been a part of my life since I was three months old. I was one of the first kids to stay at her home daycare, and from there it was history.
When I was little both of my parents worked a lot, and so it became very common that I would stay late at Ms. Kate’s. But she never ever made it seem like a burden, instead she made me feel like family. Her kids were my best friends and she was like a second mom to me. There was always a seat for me at their dinner table, always room for me on trips to the pool or the zoo, to a pumpkin patch or to see Santa. She taught me table manners I still remember to this day, and she taught me confidence that I will never forget. Even when I got old enough to not need to be in daycare anymore she stayed a major part of my life.
Kate is not just a loving mother, but an amazing business woman. She started a small daycare called the Giving Tree in her house 17 years ago. She had a passion for helping kids and believed that a daycare should be more than a place for kids to stay but a place they wanted to stay. So she set out to make that dream a reality and today there are three different locations. Two years ago I got the opportunity to follow in her footsteps, and I was officially the first baby to come back and work at the Giving Tree. Working there reminded me of everything she had done for me and my family, and how amazing it is for families to have such a special place to take their kids.
But Kate didn’t stop there. Her daughters have been crazy about cheer their whole lives, and after taking them from gym to gym and not seeing the results they wanted, she decided to open her own cheer gym. She wanted to make a gym that would be successful, but also a place for the teams and coaches to feel like family. Being the amazing woman that she is, many families and coaches eagerly followed her, trusting that she could make this dream a reality too. And she did just that. From the very first season the success of the teams was outstanding, and in the first two years the gym was open all the teams they took to nationals took first place. I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of that program as well, and without Kate it wouldn’t have been a reality.
Cheer, for whatever reason, is an expensive sport and when my family really looked at the costs, it just didn’t look like a reality for us. But Kate wasn’t going to let me give up on my dream. So we made a plan for me to work and help pay my fees, I got used gear and carpooled to competitions, and because Kate had made sure this program was like a family, lots of other people pitched in to help me too. I never would have thought I would have the opportunity to be part of something so amazing, something that really changed my life forever, and Kate was with me every step of the way.
Kate Cozzani is an inspiration to me. She has shown me time and time again that dreams can become a reality. She’s shown me the values of family and community, how when people come together they can do so much more than you thought was possible. How never giving up and working hard can be so rewarding. And above all, if you truly believe in something you can make it happen, no matter the obstacles. So on behalf of my family, and all the families she has helped over the years, I want to say thank you. And thank you for taking me in and making me feel like family, thank you for supporting me, showing me what I can achieve, and being there to watch me succeed. One day I hope to be as amazing as you. Thank you.
The Giving Tree features a curriculum that is based on the developmental needs of each child in the classroom. Our qualified teachers then prepare developmentally-appropriate lesson plans to encompass the needs of the classroom.
We provide an environment where children can learn individually, in small groups, and as a whole class. Our children have opportunities to explore freely while being supported and guided by teachers who are caring, experienced and knowledgeable. We provide an environment that promotes positive decision making, self-help skills, self-sufficient behavior and opportunities for children to learn and grow from their mistakes.
The Giving Tree is a place where not only parents feel safe and secure about
where their children are spending their day, but a place where children have
fun, are cared for, respected, and have numerous learning opportunities geared
for their developmental needs.
Pre-K students work in small groups.
Thematic play outside too.