Leader Teaching and Inspiring
Bach is the supervisor for the Dream Center in the family dining hall at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix. She has been involved with the society since 1990 and has taken part in working in different positions; such as being a board member, Director of Dining Halls to working overseas in Singapore for the society. However, the position that has brought her the most fulfillment and joy is working in the Dream Center.
The Dream Center, located in the dining hall of the St. Vincent de Paul on 7th Street and Watkins, was donated by Mike Parker and his family. It is a learning and activity center for the children who attend during the family evening meal. Bach runs the center every week Monday to Friday from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. and each day has its own theme, such as Art Night on Tuesdays, and Science Night on Thursdays. Every night is Homework Help day.
“I just want to take every opportunity I have to expose these kids to everything I possibly can,” said Bach.
She has been running the center since 2011 and after becoming director, she has taken the chance to educate the kids who attend on whatever she can. Every project that she introduces to the children has a purpose, such as the art projects like Face Tolerance, working to promote kids “to walk in someone else’s shoes.”
“Our next big project is Face Tolerance, which focuses on anti-bullying, and I will be having the kids make a mask that will be a part of a mural,” which will be unveiled on March 21 for the families and board members. The Parker family will also be attending, she said.
Bach tries to bring in as many projects as she can, whether they are educational or to bring the families who attend the dining hall together as a community. One project that she helped put together was the construction of a playground across the street from the dining hall.
“We patterned with Humana and KaBOOM! to build the playground, which the kids designed themselves and it’s a multi-generational playground, so that everyone can enjoy it,” said Bach.
She is also very passionate about encouraging the children who attend the Dream Center to read. She has organized the center’s books into reading levels and has the kids pick out a book that they then read with the volunteers.
“After reading I like to have the kids journal what they read or what their favorite party of the story was, I really want to get them to write,” she said, “I just really want to expose them to everything I can and to learn things that they might not have the chance to learn at home.”
Bach has worked on making the Dream Center a place where children can go and learn in a way that is fun and exciting for them.
“When the kids come here they know it’s a safe place, everyone is treated as equals and with respect,” she said.
The passion that Bach has for the center and the kids that she works with is evident when one speaks to her. She says her favorite part about her job is the great fulfillment she has knowing that she can touch the children’s lives.
Bach is always looking for volunteers to help her with the center and to work with the kids at St. Vincent de Paul.
Bach studied graphic art design and worked for the Kyrene School District prior to getting involved with the society. When it comes to the Dream Center, she makes sure that everything she does follows the Arizona Common Core Standards, a set of national education standards.
Written by Madeline Valencia
Editor’s note: Madeline Valencia is a South Phoenix resident and student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.