JOEL MOLINA

I'm a Brooklyn-born native. I grew up in Bushwick and, when I was 15, moved to East Williamsburg. My freshman year I went to Bluefield College in Virginia, but after that first year I decided to come back to New York. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and I needed to get a job. I saw that the Board of Education had job openings for paraprofessionals; I had to take a test and do well in order to get the job. So I took the test and didn't pay it much mind. A month later I received a letter of congratulations offering me the job.

This will be my sixth year as a paraprofessional. I've seen many kids come and go through this time. As a paraprofessional, you are assigned a student at the beginning of the school year, and this student is your responsibility. I am with my students throughout the whole school day to guide and help them in the classroom. I love my job for the simple reason that I am helping students be successful in their academics. You really get to form a relationship with them and get to know who they really are. I like to help by encouraging them. When a student tells me that they don't understand something, I always respond, "You don't understand yet." The word yet seems to help break the mindset that they can't get the work done. God has made us all unique and special, and we don't all learn the same way. I think through my job God has shown me that everyone has something special to offer, and as an educator we have to help bring that out of every student; to encourage each student to succeed. Sometimes a simple word, something as easy as "I believe that you can do this," goes a long way, and most of the time the students surprise themselves. 

I believe worship is giving everything God has given to you and pouring it out on others to further His Kingdom. There are times that the kids do get to me - after all, they are kids, but I try to be patient and pour out all that I can to help them achieve their goal of passing High School. Coming to work helps me to remain humble and helps me to continuously focus on God and what His purpose is for us: to form relationships and help one another.

I'm currently a student at Long Island University completing my fourth year of nursing school. I'm really excited to help others in the medical field. It's always been a dream of mine because it's what I believe God has called me to do. I have a heart for helping, and a career in the nursing field will open doors to impact many more lives.

The bible verse I love, and that I try to live my life according to, is Philippians 2:4, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."