Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Dana Hajj ’80

Respite supervisor and early interventionist

The Groden Network

Providence, R.I.

The most rewarding aspect of my respite job is working with families and guiding them and educating them on the systems they can access for their children. I so enjoy advocating for them when they come upon a stumbling block. My early intervention work allows me to guide them with the systems they need to access when starting school, like what to ask for during their initial IEP (Individual Education Program) discussion and what to look for in a classroom setting. I find both jobs very rewarding, and the Groden Center has a great way of training new staff. I have learned a lot from being there for 23 years. And there is still much to learn.

I was a political science major, and I so value the education I received at Wheaton. I was born and raised in Lebanon, and women’s roles in that part of the world are a little different. We were taught at a young age to always be subservient to men. Wheaton broke those barriers and showed me that women can do many other things besides serve men. I gained so much from the Wheaton community.

About Mary Howard

Mary Howard ’85 is a freelance writer and editor who lives in southeastern Connecticut.