You won’t find 27-year-old Laura Jensen in her office, if she can help it. Meetings and administrative items must be managed, but with a few dozen children around, it only makes sense that she show them attention.
Forty-five years ago, Ignacio and Concepcion Niño first brought that attention when forming El Campito in their home, where they provided unique care to the children of migrant worker families — a care built upon bilingual development.
Nearly a half-century later, that care now rests in Laura’s hands as executive director of one of South Bend’s oldest non-profit childhood development centers.
“The Niños’ primary goal was to keep the children safe,” says Laura, pointing out the harsh conditions of work fields. “They had no option but to go to work with their parents. El Campito was meant to break the cycle of children being in the fields.”
Celebrating her third year as director in November, Laura feels like she has begun to find a nice groove in El Campito, which still keeps its bilingual focus at its core while also implementing early childhood development.
“I’ve heard a saying,” Laura says. “First year, you learn your job. Second year, you do your job. Third year, you change it and make it your own.”
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