Dolores Jones, Wilder Child Development Center volunteer

Dolores Jones’s kids inspire her to volunteer at the Wilder Child Development Center


Dolores Jones first came to Wilder as a parent to children at the Child Development Center. Then she became a volunteer to demonstrate her values for daughter Ce’nia, 4, and son Cashius, 3. “My children are what inspire me to volunteer and find my place in the world,” Dolores says.

Dolores wanted her kids to see her at their school

Ce’nia started attending the Child Development Center when she was about 18 months old. Cashius joined later. Dolores chose the preschool after asking her daughter’s medical providers to recommend a child care center with Black instructors. “I think that it is very important to have African-American teachers,” she says.

The Child Development Center focuses on helping kids and families prepare for success in school and beyond. Staff promote social and emotional learning with The Incredible Years® curriculum and support students’ academic growth. Parents and families are encouraged to engage in their children’s learning and life at the center.

Dolores decided to learn alongside her children. She leaped at opportunities to help out at the Center when staff asked for parent involvement. Dolores’s mother also helped out at the Center. Dolores watched teachers interact with children, giving her ideas for her own children and her children’s friends in the future. In turn, her children saw her contributing to the Child Development Center community.

Dolores deepened her engagement with volunteer work at the Child Development Center

Dolores’s involvement at the Center grew when Donyella Smith, the family program coordinator at the Child Development Center, asked her to consider helping with administrative work. The volunteer position was a good fit for Dolores’s professional skills from her work an administrative assistant at a Saint Paul hospital, and she began helping with paperwork and occasionally answering phones and assisting people at the front desk.

“Dolores volunteers with care and concern for a program she believes in,” Donyella says. “She will help whenever she can and will always say, ‘I love Wilder!’” 

Dolores valued her children’s experience at the Child Development Center so much that she kept them at the school even after she moved from Saint Paul to Forest Lake in search of better housing and a more secure life for her kids. She reluctantly removed them when the winter commute became too difficult. But her commitment remained – Dolores still volunteers at the Center when she has time.


I want my children to know that my presence is strong. They don’t know what it means to go to work. For me to just tell my small children that I’m going to work, they don’t get it. When they see me at their school, they know Mom is there; they know Mom is doing something.

Dolores Jones, Child Development Center volunteer