This year, Patricia Rodriguez achieved her lifelong dream of earning her college degree. At the age of 60, the owner of Rodriguez’s Safe Haven Childcare Center in Kenosha, Wisconsin, earned her bachelor’s degree in early child care and education. Now she hopes her story will inspire others to achieve their dreams.
“You need to believe in yourself, keep going even when things are difficult, and never give up on your goals,” said Rodriguez. “Life has many challenges, but you can never give up on your goals. Just keep going. I am stubborn like that, and I never gave up.”
Rodriguez immigrated from Mexico City to Kenosha, Wisconsin as a young woman who knew very little English. Over the years, she used her intelligence and big heart to make a positive difference in her community. She taught herself English, raised a family, and started her own licensed childcare business to serve the needs of the working families in her community.
Having accomplished all she had set out to do, she decided to take up a new challenge: education. Rodriguez decided that she wanted to go back to school to earn her degree and gain the knowledge to better serve the educational needs of the children in her program. First, she tried a college closer to home – but found it was not the right fit. Then she discovered the UW-Platteville Child Care and Education Credentials program.
“This online program worked for me, and I found the support I needed from great instructors, like Linda Boss. I thank God for bringing Linda into my life and helping me on my journey,” said Rodriguez.
She said she didn’t have much confidence in herself when she first enrolled, especially her language skills. Rodriguez said her instructors helped her gain her confidence and find her voice in the class.
“Linda saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. She had confidence that I could achieve my goals and helped me to see my strength. If I didn’t understand something, Linda would explain it in another way that I could understand,” Rodriguez said. “A great instructor takes the time to really know you and care for you. Linda took the time to go the extra mile with me and teach me in a way that I could understand. Now I want to help others in my community who are struggling to achieve their dreams.”
The Early Childhood Care and Education degree is a collaboration between UW-Platteville and UW-Whitewater. Rodriguez transferred her UW-Platteville Child Care and Education Credential credits to UW-Whitewater, where she completed the degree. For more information about this unique program, click here.