Staff Highlight: Clinton Meister
On any given day or evening, one will find a very happy Clinton Meister playing with, reading to or pleasantly interacting with, one of the children who frequent Libertae’s Daycare Center. Clinton is an Early Childhood Development Specialist who has worked at Libertae from 2005 to 2012, and then returned in April of this year to care for the children of residential and outpatient clients receiving treatment at Libertae for substance use disorders.
By his own standards, Clinton describes the environment particularly unique because, unlike other daycare centers, the children actually live on the premises, which makes the daycare part of their home for the time their moms are in treatment. “It makes for an interesting dynamic among the children,” says Clinton. “They often start treating each other like siblings rather than friends! It’s heartwarming to watch the relationships that develop.”
Clinton came back to Libertae after a 5-year hiatus because he loves the family experience that is prevalent and actually nurtured here. The staff work together well and, according to Clinton, all have the same passion: to love the children and support the mothers. “It’s very rare to find an environment so comfortable and so welcoming. Even after the moms’ treatment ends, many come back with their kids to visit, so we get to watch many of them grow up as well!”
Prior to coming to Libertae, Clinton worked with teens and adults with traumatic head injuries. A position at Border’s in the children’s literature section opened up a whole new world and made him realize how much he enjoyed caring for children. That, and a personal interest in addiction, led him to pursue a position at Libertae, where he was able to incorporate both interests in his work.
He acknowledges that men are few and far between in the world of caring for children, but the need exists, particularly for role models. “I’m a great Dad of a 19-year-old son,” says Clinton. “That alone gave me a terrific education on caring for these kids! I love what I do.”
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