Making a difference every day after school
Molly McGeehan radiates positivity. In a conversation with her, you can’t help but soak it in and smile. When asked to describe herself she chose the words outgoing, bright and positive—she’s spot on. These are all qualities that make her an outstanding member of the Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR) team.
McGeehan joined CCPR as an Extended School Enrichment (ESE) after-school counselor in 2009. The ESE program offers on-site, after-school care for grades K-6 at all 11 Carmel Clay elementary schools. As a counselor, she assists with program activities like homework time, enrichment clubs and recess.
“I honestly love kids in general and I think that working with kids is so rewarding,” shares McGeehan. “It’s important for kids to learn about disability awareness, especially from someone with a disability herself. I just love it when kids ask questions because, you know, they’re curious! And I’m more than happy to share my story with them.”
A Passion for Sharing Her Story
When McGeehan was born, a bleed in her brain caused her to have a stroke. Over the course of the next two years, her parents noticed she wasn’t meeting typical milestones like walking or crawling. At 29 weeks she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. According to the Mayo Clinic, cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. McGeehan has used a wheelchair since she was 3 years old.
McGeehan has a passion for working with kids and educating them about disability awareness. Even as early as her elementary school days, she participated in a program called Everybody Counts. Through that program, she visited elementary classrooms to share her story about living with cerebral palsy.
“It’s so important for people to know it’s okay to ask questions,” she shares. “When I’m at work, my disability disappears. The kids are my world, my main focus, and I forget about my disability. I’m so focused on their needs that I forget about myself.”
Making an Impact at ESE
When McGeehan interviewed to be an ESE after-school counselor, her now-manager Valeska Simmonds hired her on the spot. McGeehan laughs as she recalls the interview,
“Valeska said ‘We want you at Forest Dale (Elementary) and you’re never allowed to leave.’” McGeehan has worked with Simmonds on the after-school team at Forest Dale Elementary for 14 years now. Their relationship has had a positive impact on them both.
“I enjoy Valeska so much,” McGeehan shares. “She’s so good with the kids, and I’ve learned so much from her. She’s always been at the finish line for me.
“I appreciate all the hard work that Valeska has done to make me successful,” says McGeehan. “She’s been behind me 100 percent since day one. She has given me a chance and I feel very accomplished working at ESE. I feel like I’m a huge part of CCPR.”
McGeehan’s impact on the students and families at Forest Dale Elementary as well as the CCPR team over the years is beyond words. Simmonds shared that McGeehan makes a positive impact on anyone she comes across.
“She is very kind and understanding with the children, and they, in turn, enjoy being around her,” says Simmonds. “I would say she is a perfect role model for the kids in our program. She is a positive example to the children that nothing can stop you from realizing your dreams and working up to your full potential.”
JOIN MOLLY ON THE CCPR TEAM
At Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, we believe our differences are what make us better. CCPR is lucky to have McGeehan’s bright, positive spirit on our team. CCPR is always looking for individuals who are passionate about making a positive difference. If you’re interested in joining the CCPR team, visit carmelclayparks.com/work/.
Written By: Jylian Riches
Jylian is the Marketing & Communications Director for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation. She oversees the Department and has written the creative for numerous marketing publications and campaigns.