At The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, our employees truly are the heartbeat that drives the organization. Every day, through the care and service they provide, they live our mission of maximizing the potential of every child and exemplify our core values of compassion, integrity, excellence, service and stewardship. We hope you enjoy getting to know our amazing employees through our Heartbeat profiles.
Why every day makes a difference to Special Education Teacher, Camilla Dadulo
Working with children at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital every day for the last 16 years, Special Education Teacher, Camilla Dadulo, has learned that she never knows when the most memorable moment will happen for a patient. Sometimes a lot of energy goes into special events, celebrations and outings, but Camilla tries to create opportunities daily.
“I think those moments can be found in the ordinary day of sitting out on the patio playing a silly game, truly being in tune with what patients are communicating, and having them feel valued and loved,” she shares.
Camilla also points out the teachers and patient activity aides in the Complex Care units of the hospital are the only staff members that see the same patients every Monday through Friday. “We can pick up on small changes in the kids,” she says. “These early indications can be helpful to the bigger picture of the child’s overall health.”
After earning her degree in Human and Family Services, Camilla toured the hospital and applied for the position of social worker in 2005. She recalls showing up four hours early for her interview and finding out that a master’s degree was required for the position, but Carol Gray offered Camilla a teaching assistant position instead. Camilla credits her co-worker, Dusti Hill, with encouraging her to pursue her teaching certificate. “Dusti was a true cheerleader through the process and in 2010 I became a Special Education Teacher,” she says.
Although Camilla always knew she wanted to help children and families, as a girl growing up in the Ozarks, another career dream was comedy. “I wanted to be a nurse, like my dad, or a comedian. But my mama said I wasn’t funny enough,” she recalls. “But now I get to be a goofball every day at work. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t sing or dance. I’m very good at making up and singing goofy songs on the fly.”
Beyond bringing joy and laughter to her patients, teaching and being truly invested in the lives of her students is what Camilla finds most rewarding about her work. And when asked what she’d include on her bucket list, being invested in everyday life tops that list.
“I want to create shared memories with my husband, my kids, my friends, my students and my work family. Traveling would be nice, but never underestimate the ordinary, everyday memories.”
Something you might not know: “I met my husband on the internet. We were introduced there but got to know each other in person. It took me 2 years to convince him to marry me, but we’ve been married for 14 years and have two wonderful kids.”
Favorite ways to spend time: “I love running with my husband and going to thrift stores and garage sales with my kiddos. I ask for time off every year for the Surrey Hills neighborhood garage sales.”
First job: Waitress at a Chinese restaurant
Favorite Music: “I don’t listen to a lot of music, but when I’m in the car I prefer worship. I love Elevation Worship, We the Kingdom and Maverick City Worship.”
Favorite TV Show: “Fake crime shows like CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, SVU. But I also love The Office.”
Favorite Quote: “A quote that is very much like me is from Michael Scott on The Office: ‘Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.’”
Dream Weekend: “A four-day weekend with days to rest, and going on what my family calls ‘Baby Adventures’ to a state park to hike, but only if we get to stay at a ‘holiday’ (motel).”