Meet our Samaritans: An Interview with Gwendolyn Mayfield

By Justin Feltman

Gwendolyn Mayfield joined the team at Samaritan Inns as the Childcare Center Director this June. She has over 30 years of experience in childcare and a deep passion for creating a safe and fun learning environment for each child, as well as establishing holistic relationships with their parents and family. We asked her a few questions about her experience thus far.

Tell me a little bit about each of the kids at the Clark Inn and the dynamics and relationships you’ve developed with each of them.

Well my first was Brendan. His mom graduated. She was a very supportive parent and Brendan was very curious and independent but yet…what would you say…he wasn’t excited about others getting my attention. He was pretty much like, “This is my Gwendolyn!” He started out with other kids but for three weeks it was just him and me doing everything we can. Brendan was very smart. Mom must have been reading with him because anything I taught him he was just going to the next level. [For example] Geometry; I sat down with these different kinds of shapes and put them together to show him how you can make different things with the shapes by putting them together. He made some things I hadn’t even thought about.

Right now we have Miracle, who is my oldest, and she will be five in January. She is very bright. Her brother Messiah does everything his sister does. He lives for his sister. Just recently he’s started to get a little bit independent; just a little. Just enough so that I can get him to sit down and focus on his art, or whatever activity we are doing, and he sticks with it instead of following her.

My littlest one is Kahlie! She’s so feisty. So smart. She knows lots of words. Sometimes she’ll say words I didn’t even know she knew. But all of them are sweet hearts. I love my little ones, I really do! But I love it when I see them getting to the next level. Leaving the anger behind.

You had a graduation this past weekend. Can you talk about what it’s like to see the moms and their children graduate?

Oh, it was so nice. Everyone got up to share something special. It was so emotional; to hear she stuck to her goals and what she wanted to do to get through the program…and that she made it through. She told me exactly what she wanted Brendan to learn and she told me anytime his behavior is not cooperative to let her know and she did follow up on that.

I met her family: her mom, her sister, and I think some little children who were probably her nieces and nephews. They all had a warmth that you feel when you meet them, and I was like “Wow!” I had to do a letter for her and it was easy to write because she was so supportive the whole time. She would buy special snacks every now and then; she would bring them over. She was really thinking about us and her child when she was here.

The graduation was just awesome. I don’t know everybody’s situation, I just know them through their children. But that bond is just so good. I could tell they really care about me and they’re just very respectful and I could tell I was in the perfect place.

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