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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
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...

Read more from Dr. Jaqua Lewis-Hunte

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