A Focused and Attentive Approach to Caregiving…Employee Spotlight: Maggie Vandermar-Poor
It takes a certain personality to work and thrive in the Magnuson Athletic Club’s MiniMAC Kid’s Club. Patience, understanding, flexibility and creativity are just some of the qualities that make for a successful caregiver. Maggie Vandermar-Poor has those qualities in abundance and uses them everyday to give kids a fantastic experience whenever they visit the MiniMAC.
Maggie credits her own childhood as inspiration for creating memorable childhood experiences for others. Originally born in Colombia, Maggie and her twin sister were adopted when they were a year old. Her family soon moved to the Seattle area and she lived just 10 minutes away from Magnuson Park. Growing up, Maggie took advantage of the diverse cultural experiences that Seattle offers, as well as traditional childhood activities of youth sports, dance, gymnastics and horseback riding. Family vacations and school travel have also contributed to Maggie’s broader experience of people and culture.
As a young adult looking to her future, Maggie did not foresee working with children as a part of her overall plan. In 2011, when a college classmate asked if she wanted to be a substitute nanny to earn some extra money, she decided to give it a try, as she always enjoyed working with kids in the past. It turned out that being a caregiver for children was a good fit for Maggie’s talents and, it was a lot of fun. Soon she was babysitting regularly through a sitter service and she was taking on short-term nanny jobs as well. In August of 2014, Maggie was in between jobs and was browsing on Facebook when she noticed a post from an old friend. Mckenna Bjorkelo, a long time friend of Maggie’s and current MiniMAC Lead caregiver, posted that the Kid’s Club was looking for help. With her extensive experience with kids and a great attitude, Maggie was hired by the club as a MiniMAC employee.
Working with the children in the MiniMAC has been a smooth transition for Maggie’s easygoing and positive disposition. However, the kids remind her that she needs to bring her A-Game everyday: “When you’re around children, they easily pick up on vocal cues, body language and facial expressions. If I walk into work angry and uninterested, I feel like the kids will easily pick up on it.” Therefore, Maggie takes a very focused and attentive approach to caregiving at the MiniMAC, letting kid’s interests drive the activities and letting them indicate what they need. In the end, if the kids keep coming back wanting to learn and experience new things, then she feels good about the job she’s done.
When she is not collaborating with kids in the MiniMAC, Maggie like to get outdoors, especially when the weather is nice. A long walk around Greenlake or a day trip on a ferry to one of the islands are among her favorite activities. You might also find her listening to music and cooking in the apartment she shares with her sister.
Maggie loves her job and the interaction with the kids. And we are thrilled that Maggie is part of the MAC family, creating a fun filled experience for all the children who visit the MiniMAC.