Ramona Harvey Preston, fondly known as “Miss Ramona” throughout the after-school program, is a remarkable example of empowerment! Her endeavors are to be admired from her career as a software engineer to her dancing abilities. Miss Ramona was a single mom until her son was 11 and she married her marine husband. She and her husband traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East having many adventures that most of us only dream about. She speaks German, Russian and was brushing up on her Arabic during the pandemic. She is a retired ballet instructor who taught for years at the Tannery and recently got certified in ZumbaKids and Zumba Gold. She is an equestrian who rides every chance she gets as well as volunteering at the barn. Even though her only son moved to Colorado with her two grandsons, she continues to mother her beloved dog “Miss MoneyPenny”. She is the most technologically savvy senior I know and puts our young employees to shame with her technological understanding. In her retirement she continues to be a fixture in our group exercise classes, teaching Zumba Gold and blowing everyone away with her incredible flexibility. You have to see this woman do a split! And if this is not enough, she also lends her caretaking skills to local families. You will see her dropping off a neighbor’s child in the morning bus line or picking up a preschooler in the middle of the day. She also volunteered her time to the annual YWCA Engaging Communities Luncheon this year. Miss Ramona is remarkable to say the least.
I have been honored to get to know Ramona personally as she answered the call for staffing and joined the youth services team in 2018. I couldn’t be more thankful to have her on my team! I would dare anyone to catch her without a smile on her face and a kind word to offer. She is the epitome of altruism. She notices the child who is alone or sad. She will cozy up next to them and read them a book or play a board game with them. She watches every skit they create with enjoyment and can never get enough of their energy. She will come in and rave about some cute thing a child did the afternoon before and how it touched her. She greets every parent who enters the program and gets to know them as well. She doesn’t take sick days and I mean I can literally count only 1 sick day in the 3 years she has worked in the program. She even worked the afternoon after getting her second COVID shot. She takes extra shifts at the last minute and shows up early if I ask for extra help. She is an unstoppable force who adds so much to our after-school community. She thanks me for her staff review each year and always requests to know what she can do to improve. She talks about how she looks forward to coming into the program each afternoon. Her self-motivation and commitment are to be valued and respected. Her positivity is infectious. Miss Ramona is a true gift.