Imagine Spotlight: Mirna Cartagena
This week, we’re proud to feature Mirna Cartagena, serving as a mentor and child care provider in Washington.
Family is very important to Mirna Cartagena, so when she started working with her sister at the home of a child care provider, she knew it was something she was passionate about and was eager to learn more.
COMING TO THE UNITED STATES
Mirna grew up in El Salvador and is the oldest of four sisters. She got an education there, and then came to the United States in 2006 to be closer to her family. She settled in Tacoma with her husband and son, and quickly started working at a child care facility with her sister, who had already been working there for some time.
“As soon as I started working with children, I realized it was my passion because I feel like they love me, and I feel like I have a duty to do this! This was my calling. I can connect with children very easily and that helps teach them.”
Within just a few months of moving to the United States, she learned to speak English so she could train to become a provider herself. She got her AA degree in 2011 and started her own child care facility. Mirna says at first, it was difficult to find training.
“When I did mine in 2011, it was hard to find resources or talk to people since I spoke Spanish, resources were slim. Now because Imagine U has training in Spanish, it has helped open doors to people who speak Spanish who may not have thought to open a facility.”
GETTING INVOLVED WITH TRAINING
When she started her facility in 2011, Mirna also decided to help mentor others who were thinking of becoming providers. She has helped open 5 facilities with her mentorship. It was this work ethic that drew her to Imagine U.
“When Imagine started, they asked people to become mentors, and I got an email from them, asking if I wanted to help. I started with them in 2018 and worked as a mentor.”
Mirna recently started as a trainer with Imagine U, helping other become teachers in provider facilities. She says 11 of her family members have opened child care facilities, most with the help of Imagine.
“If you want to open a child care center, do it through Imagine. It’s going to make your path very easy. They will help you manage your facility. They will give you all the resources and support you need.”
Mirna is currently working to ger her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She is very involved in the Latina community, and says she is always willing to help train, support, or teach anyone who is looking to learn more about child care.
“I love what I do, I love my family, I love my children, and my community, and that’s all you need.”