Southeast seventh-day adventist church Cleveland, OH
Interview with Kaye Gilleylen
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kaye gilleylenThe state of Ohio, like many other states in the U.S., is slowly beginning to “open up” following an Executive Order that issued shelter-in-place directives and the suspension of most activities that were not considered “essential.” Adhering to strict guidelines developed by the CDC, manufacturing, dental offices, other health care services, restaurants, barbershops, hair salons, retail and other business concerns began carefully opening their doors during the month of May.


The next to open will be childcare centers, which will bring with it a whole new set of challenges. The coronavirus is still with us and the country is now facing the monumental task of learning to live with it.


Kaye Gilleylen, Assistant Director of Program Operations for Early Learning at The Centers for Families and Children will soon learn, first hand, the experience of being next in line to test the waters of re-entry.


The Centers is a non-profit organization that serves 500 families at early childhood sites across the Cleveland area. Kaye has worked for The Centers for 21 years. As Assistant Director, she helps to oversee seven learning centers and the home visiting program that serves families in need. Additionally, The Centers offer a prenatal program that assists women with high risk pregnancies. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, programs run by The Centers have been offered virtually, with more urgent services offered in person by appointment.


According to Kaye,The Centers are currently “putting procedures together for mid-June. Health and safety of our staff is of the utmost importance to us. [Currently] we have the benefit of working virtually to give educational support to our families and to allow our staff to work remotely.” However, the challenge is, “when we go back, what will social distancing look like?”

Kaye has been working remotely since March 16th, but The Centers recognized a potential crisis long before that point and started to prepare early. “We saw what was happening in China and got an action plan together.” Prior to the shutdown, The Centers compiled care packages that were distributed to families to help children with their education. Those packages included learning materials and a booklet to help explain the pandemic entitled, “Why Can’t I Go to School?”


The packages, says Kaye, “are like a starter kit.” Teachers and home visitor workers have also sent activities to families twice a week to help keep parents in the loop. There are also YouTube channels set up to help the children with activities. Since the shutdown and the introduction of virtual learning through technology, Kaye has noticed that “parents are participating more.”

The Centers and its novel approach to this novel virus has been featured in a article, “Cleveland-area childcare centers, parents grapple with tough choices amid coronavirus-borne uncertainty,” by Michelle Jarboe.


Additionally, Tanisha Dunning, a Pre-School Teacher at the Early Learning Center, set up a Facebook page and presents a story time for children, reading from the ‘Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Curriculum’ or as the children call it, the “Big Purple Book.” By opening up her home, Mrs. Dunning adds a personal touch that helps children cope with this crisis. They enjoy the virtual visit to her home, which includes meeting her husband and her dog. She presents early reading phonetic lessons to children daily and is providing virtual activities to the families and children they serve.


Although she is not physically working from her office in the Midtown Corridor right now, Kaye remains busy with her job, her personal life, her church. The Centers still conduct administrator Webinars and meetings, but are now delivered virtually through Microsoft Teams and the virtual parent meetings are offered through Zoom. The virus has demanded shelter in place, but technology “has allowed us to look at things differently, says Kaye.”


The same technology that keeps her connected to work keeps her connected to family, friends and church. Kaye says that “prayer, daily conferencing though Zoom and Google Duo with friends and family allows for virtual face to face visits during the quarantine. To keep herself in a healthier place, Kaye participates in “Social Distance” walks. Kaye also checks in on the seniors in her building and a special couple who are members of Southeast and were best friends with her parents. Since her parents have both passed, Kaye continues to look after them by taking them home cooked meals every week. She states that, “my mother taught me how important it is to serve others and stay close to seniors and make sure they have what they can’t get for themselves.”


Kaye’s parents also had a strong spiritual influence on her. Kaye has always served the Lord by using the beautiful, strong alto voice God blessed her with. A longtime member of the Southeast Praise Team, Kaye is helping to bring praise and worship to the membership by participating in the live stream service on Sabbath mornings. Kaye stated that, “being able to go to church and sing to an empty church and interact with the new pastor and his wife (Pastor Stan Hood and First Lady Alisa Hood), has helped me mentally, physically and spiritually.” No wonder Kaye’s favorite scripture is Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”


Kaye believes that, “In these times of uncertainty, we need to trust God with everything and just know that He will never leave us nor forsake us and He has everything under control. We just have to trust Him.”


--Cecily Bryant, Communications Leader

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Southeast Seventh-Day
Adventist Church

16602 Tarkington Ave.
Cleveland OH 44128

Office: (216) 662-3080

Saturday Schedule
9:00 am Power Hour
10:00 am Sabbath School (Bible Study)
11:30 am Divine Worship Service

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