Each Tuesday, I talk to local professionals to get an inside glimpse into what they do and ask them to offer advice to teens who may be considering a job in that field. The month of September will include a professional musician, marketing director and costume designer. Teens homeschooling in Nevada and considering college or moving into a trade school can get to know more about the career they intend to pursue.
This month, education seems to be on the minds of many. I reached out to Nevada Educational Advocacy and Tutoring Services (NEAT) to ask how they help families with distance learning and what it takes to work as an educator and therapist.NEAT was started by husband and wife team Wendy Broder and Dan Stock in 2018.
Broder had a 22-year, successful career working as a special educator but knew that families needed more resources and support than they could receive from the public-school system. After tutoring for a summer and determining what a need there was in the community, they created NEAT Services. Together with a staff of professionally trained tutors, NEAT Services has created a niche in the Las Vegas community. Broder shared the ups and downs of distance learning, starting a small business and the inspiration she received from an early age.
What inspires you?
My inspiration has always been my mother, who passed away in October, 2019, due to a long illness. She is the reason why I became an educator. Susan Broder was a master special educator who changed the lives of the children she taught in a significant way. I have always strived to follow in her footsteps and to be the type of quality educator that she was. Being able to improve the lives of families is the greatest inspiration to me.
What are the top 3 skills required to do what you do?
Every Educational Therapist is required to have a Master’s degree in Education, years of teaching experience, and Nevada State licensure in education. Above all, the educator must have a passion for working with children and helping families. Educational Therapists require the ability to recognize and understand not only how each student needs support, but how to address their deficits. Our philosophy is that we do not simply provide homework help to students. We have an ability to determine what the student’s needs are and address those needs.
What have you gained from your job?
From NEAT, we have definitely gained amazing relationships with families in the Las Vegas community. We have been able to gain knowledge and bettered ourselves as educators. We only select team members that come from different skill sets. This way, we know we have a great team and we can learn from each other. There is also the opportunity to learn how to manage responsibilities. Educational Therapists create their own schedules with clients and must be able to independently manage what each student is working on.
What were the biggest hurdles to building your business?
A big hurdle for building a business would be marketing and spreading the word about our mission. In the beginning of business growth, it is hard to know where to start. Word of mouth is great, but new businesses need more support in other areas. Thankfully this hurdle can be overcome by having a team of people to support marketing and social media! Social media is a big platform that we have started to utilize more and more recently.
What do you think is the most memorable moment of your career?
The most memorable moment in my Educational Therapist career was seeing a student of mine catch on to what we had been working on for a couple of months. One day he just understood and we were so excited. We celebrated and it was great to see how proud he was of himself. Building these client relationships is so awesome.
What other leaders do you look up to?
In the Las Vegas community, we specifically look up to the non-profit organizations that are helping to support individuals of all abilities. These organizations are pioneering the way for all individuals who may not have had previous opportunities. That is truly admirable. We work to build community partnerships with other organizations in the Valley who are supporting the disabilities community. One example of our community partners is FEAT of Southern Nevada.
What advice can you give to someone who wants to enter your field?
You need to have a love for helping others. That is what will drive you to be better than you were the day before. Also, always challenge yourself to learn more. Being in the education field, you have to know that it is important to always evolve. Education is constantly changing in a way so that more students can be reached.
What are your future focus areas?
Our next focus area at NEAT is opening up a second office site at the Collaboration Center in Southwest Las Vegas! This second site will be used for assessments and 1-1 Educational Therapy. We are excited to be able to reach more clients! It is really a big move for NEAT!
Want to share your advice for teens in the VKZ series “How Do You Do That?” Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!