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Why Entering the Field as a CEC Volunteer Made All the Difference

Dr. Lewis-Hunte smiling and posing in her full graduation garb outside of a university building

“It is more blessed to give than to receive” is a principle I strive to live by daily. I was blessed to join the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) as a volunteer early in my special education career.

As a young, yet eager, special education major at Florida State University (FSU), I was thrilled to join the Student Chapter where I served as Vice President. During my time at FSU, I attended my very first CEC Convention & Expo. I can recall saying to myself, if there is a special education heaven, it must look like this!! As a young teacher in training, I gained an abundance of knowledge and resources to share with my local chapter. Most importantly, my confidence increased as I prepared to enter the special education field as a teacher.

Upon graduation, I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where I accepted my first official teaching job as a special education teacher serving individuals with autism. During this time, I was able to connect with wonderful mentors from the local CEC Chapter who supported me and encouraged me to get involved. Because of their example and mentorship, I joined Palm Beach Chapter #0200 as a member and eventually progressed to President.

CEC provides resources through mentorship, professional development, policy issues, developing individuals to become better advocates, and so much more! Through service and volunteering, I have gained in-depth knowledge which has allowed me to be a better special educator, colleague, and professional to those I come into contact with on a daily basis.

CEC is more than a volunteer opportunity; it is a community of people fighting for a common cause. Through this organization, I have developed relationships that will last a lifetime. I have also gained access to many resources and opportunities to sharpen my skills as a special educator leader that will help me to better support and develop those around me.

Due to the continuous support I have received, and the desire to want to impact change in a positive way in this field, I have continued my journey with CEC by serving as the President of the Florida CEC Unit. My ultimate goal is to be a lifelong volunteer for this organization – standing on the front lines with special educators across the world as we continue to advocate and impact change.

You can't put a price tag on this experience. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

What are you waiting for?! Join us now! I guarantee you will not regret it.

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Posted:  17 March, 2022
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Headshot of Dr. Jaqua Lewis-Hunte
Author: Dr. Jaqua Lewis-Hunte

Dr. Jaqua Lewis-Hunte is the current president of the Florida Council for Exceptional Children (Florida CEC) and principal of Suncoast Christian Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida. An experienced...

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