Feb 20, 2024
Topic: My Why
Cindy Gonzalez is a huge fan of the TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As a child, she watched the show regularly and shares much of the same philosophy as the famous host, including the knowledge that children are easily influenced and need good role models to show them right from wrong. She also remembers a quote from the show: If you can’t find help, be the help. “That phrase stuck with me,” says Gonzalez. “I’ve tried to live by that motto ever since I first heard it,” she added.
Armed with that inspiration, Ms. Gonzalez worked in a variety of fields helping others, including working at St. Coletta’s of Illinois, providing residential, educational and vocational services to disabled adults in an effort to help them become more independent individuals. She loved teaching them behaviors to help them be seen and heard.
But it was her love of reading that brought Gonzalez to Kilmer Elementary School to a job as a part-time library assistant. “My love of reading was sparked at Kilmer when I was a student here and I wanted to give that same experience to others. I like to see how reading teaches students something new, especially important life lessons. I enjoy seeing how a good book opens up students’ minds to different perspectives or just the idea of seeing them get lost in a good book,” she says. While she helps check out books and gets classes organized, her true talent is recommending books to students who don’t know what to read. “I first ask them what subjects they like and I look at what books might be best for them.” she adds. Gonzalez’s favorite recommendations are Monarch award winners which she has read a few of and her favorites include: “Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us” by Lauren Castillo and “Not Quite Snow White” by Ashley Franklin. “Both books have good messages for children,” she adds.
For her own personal reading pleasure, Gonzalez likes thrillers, mysteries and psychology books. She also spends her down time crafting, cooking, baking and spending time with her two pets, a chihuahua and a hedgehog named Walter.