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Article posted: 12/30/2013 5:30 AM

Love for kids leads to long-time profession helping them

Naomi Samuels

Naomi Samuels

 
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Naomi Samuels' love of children and work experience with young people has led her to become the new director of the Northwest Family Center in Buffalo Grove, part of the Jewish Council for Youth Services.

"It is my hope to bring some new ideas in best practices that I have learned regarding the systems that support quality early childhood and the strong focus on professional development, teacher-child interactions and curriculum to the Northwest center," Samuels said.

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She decided to take the job at JCYS Northwest center, which opened in 2000 and is the agency's third early childhood center, because it is "a warm, thriving center where children are loved and respected as people," she said.

"I was impressed by the staff and the facility, and the JCYS organization. I was looking for something in the early childhood field, but different from my previous jobs in an urban environment."

After about 20 years of working with Head Start and other government funded programs, she was "attracted to the challenges of a program without all the rules and requirements that government funding comes with in this field," Samuels said.

Previously, she had been the vice president of child development services at Jane Addams Hull House in Chicago for 15 years.

Samuels led her division to be accredited by the Council of Accreditation and National Association for the Education of Young Children. The center provides infant and toddler care, full and half-day preschool, kindergarten enrichment, before- and after-school care, summer day camp, and family events to over 500 children.

"My years at Hull House were wonderful and very challenging," she said. "Trying to manage the various funding streams and their requirements and limitations, as well as ensuring quality services was very demanding. I worked with a wonderful team of dedicated people and we were able to ensure best practices and create some innovative programming as well. I was fortunate to apply for and receive two Early Reading First grants, as well as an 8-year McCormick professional development grant. These enabled the team to focus on continued quality improvements and for staff to grow and learn together."

Samuels herself was born on Chicago and raised in Evanston. She spent 15 years in Baltimore where her ex-husband was born and raised. She returned to Evanston 16 years ago to raise her two children. Her son Jake lives in Evanston and is the booking agent and manager of Space, a music venue in Evanston. Her daughter Hana lives in Bucktown and works as a property manager for Blue Star properties.

She is looking forward to the next phase of her career.

"I love young children. They are open, direct and honest," she said. "I love to watch their little minds engage as they tackle something new. I find it very satisfying to watch their rapid growth and learning and they are so much fun."

Allstate agency owner goes to capital

Sedrik Newbern, owner of an Allstate agency in Libertyville, and Allstate employee Todd Friedman traveled to Washington, D.C., recently as part of Allstate's first Congressional Fly-In to talk with lawmakers about issues affecting the insurance industry and consumers. Newbern and Friedman met with Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin, congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and Congressmen Peter Roskam and Brad Schneider to highlight Allstate's public policy priorities and discuss their experiences as representatives of the insurance industry. Newbern and Friedman were joined by fellow Allstate agency owners and employees from across the country, and by members of Allstate's Federal Affairs team.

Ginsberg helps local families

For the 19th year, David Ginsberg's Ginsberg Chiropractic in Geneva has donated more than fifty $20 gift cards to TriCity Family Services' Thanksgiving Adopt-a-Family Program. So far, the practice has provided turkeys to more than 400 TriCity client families.

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Brandon Burns, owner of Weed Man of Arlington Heights, was honored with the Ambassador Award for 2013 at the company's national conference. His was one of more than 310 territories nationwide. The Ambassador Award was established to reward the franchisee who embodies Weed Man's core values and is a positive representation of the brand toward prospective franchisees.

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•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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