Molly Stark School
Darlene Stratton’s expressions of kindness toward everyone at the Molly Stark School are VEHI PATH rock star worthy. A para-educator at the school for the past 20 years, Stratton said she recently contemplated retirement but determined after some soul searching there are too many students to care for and she can’t leave. “I have been here so long, I am part of the school’s fabric,” she said. “I love my job.”
According to her colleague, Sharon Mears, Darlene is a person who knows everyone. “She deeply cares for each of them. When someone is sick or down and out, she will bake something for them, pay them a visit and most of all listen. When someone is having a rough day she is always there with her kind encouraging words. Darlene and I share healthy meal ideas with each other and enjoy going out to lunch especially when we find new restaurants with healthy lunches. Everyone needs a Darlene in their life.”
Stratton’s generosity toward others is always front and center. “I love to find the heart in a child, rather than focus on the behavior,” she said as wrapped her arms around two young students. “I also created Gail’s Gang. We host fundraising events for individuals who are getting treatment at the local cancer center to help them with gas cards, hotel stays and household bills.”
Stratton begins each morning with either yoga for specific stretches for 30 minutes. “I am now much more focused on what I eat too, “she said. “Last summer my cholesterol numbers went up. I stopped eating so much sugar and pumped up my water intake. I love making oatmeal peanut butter cookies. I cut the amount of sugar in them and they still taste fine. And now I am doing much better. I don’t punish myself, however, “she said smiling. “Friday and Saturdays are my treat dates.” Stratton is also part of Molly’s Misfits, a group of colleagues who work as team to address VEHI PATH activities.
“Outsider of working at Molly Stark, my favorite activity is to hang out with her dogs, Moose, an old English bulldog and Kymba, a boxer, bulldog,” Stratton said as she shared photos of them.