Meredith Vieira grants wish for preschool director

West Dallas preschool director Michelle Brown (left) and Jennifer Livas of Educational First Steps (right) with Meredith Vieira.

Running an early childhood center in an impoverished neighborhood has many challenges, but Michelle Brown constantly makes sacrifices to ensure “her babies” are surrounded by the best possible early environment and teachers. She gets up at 5 a.m. daily to give rides to children who otherwise not have transportation to school. The building that houses her center is old and in need of repairs, and she fixes many of the problems with her own hands. Even with these challenges, she always makes incorporating new and better teaching techniques a priority, with the help of Educational First Steps.

This is why, when they had the opportunity, Educational First Steps nominated Michelle Brown for a Wish Booth segment on The Meredith Vieira Show, which is televised nationally on NBC.

Michelle’s center, Katie’s Little Angels, is far more than babysitting for families in West Dallas. It is a safe, enriching place where children get the educational start they need and deserve. It is also a lifeline for families in the neighborhood. By the fall of 2016 and with the guidance and support of Educational First Steps, Katie’s Little Angels expects to become one of only three nationally accredited preschools in West Dallas.

The Educational First Steps team gathered with Katie’s Little Angels children and teachers Dallas to watch Michelle’s appearance live.

Michelle’s wish was to give the children at her center, who often do without at holiday time, the best season ever. The Meredith Vieira Show, moved by her genuine caring and her personal sacrifices to bring the children she serves the best early education possible, selected Michelle from dozens of hopeful wishers across the country. She flew to New York along with Jennifer Livas, her Educational First Steps early learning specialist and advisor, thinking she was going to be interviewed by producers. She was completely taken by surprise when she was escorted on stage to meet Meredith Vieira, who let her know her wish had been granted.

Vieira presented her with toys for the preschool, a gift certificate to Learning Express for teaching tools, and four computers from HP to start a technology center at Katie’s Little Angels. Another surprise was that her family, the teachers and children at Katie’s were watching live from Dallas and were able to congratulate her from afar. Build A Bear Workshop was on site with the kids and presented every child with a teddy bear to call their own.

Michelle is an inspiration to all of us. At Educational First Steps, we consider ourselves lucky to work with Michelle and so many other dedicated educators in the most at-risk neighborhoods in North Texas. Educational First Steps provides the guidance, but it is only with their hard work, caring and determination that our community’s most vulnerable children get the right start in school and in life.