Tracy Wiessbrod, M.S.Ed., Director of Child Education
Growing up in a generous and responsive family set the foundation for my altruism. When college expanded my world view and made me more socially-conscious, I began to volunteer with Big Sisters and NY Cares. Graduate school led me to understand the profound benefit of hands-on volunteering for all ages. Born and raised in New York, and now raising my own family in Los Angeles, I make kindness and compassion an intrinsic part of our daily behavior and approach to life. Community service can be integrated into all forms of learning, growth, and development.
After receiving my Bachelors Degree in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University, I pursued a career in children’s television only to discover that I prefer working directly with children. At Bank Street College of Education, I studied how children develop and learn, and how to provide experiential learning and developmentally appropriate curriculum. During this time, I learned to consider children as active participants in their education and members of the community.
While completing my Dual Masters in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, I worked as an intergenerational coordinator at Dorot, a social service agency for seniors. This experience showed me how being a valuable, responsible citizen can start at a very young age. I saw first-hand how fun and rewarding service learning is for children.
After graduate school, I taught Kindergarten and Second Grade for seven years. I aimed to engage children in their own learning and inspire them to be independent, creative thinkers. That included being socially responsible members of the classroom and the community at large. We went on trips to visit seniors and to learn about the environment. I firmly believe that each grade level can and should have a service learning component integrated into its social studies curriculum.
When I had my own children, I realized again how kindness and responsiveness can be part of everyday life for toddlers and children. However, my daughters were too young for most hands-on volunteer programs. Then I met Lauren Alon, the founder of A Magic Penny.
I immediately got my family involved with A Magic Penny, and I was thrilled to help build and develop this new program to better the world. As Director of Child Education, I program developmentally appropriate events across all areas of community service, provide the framework for children to process these meaningful experiences, and create useful tools to help parents discuss heavy subject matter with their children. Everything we do is fun and feels good, inspiring further philanthropy.