Meet Miss Regina from Parks and Recreation

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Regina Vaughan, affectionately known to her charges as “Miss Regina,” has been working with Friendship Court’s children and youth (ages 8 and up) for most of the 15 years that she’s been employed by the City of Charlottesville’s Parks and Recreation department as a community center employee. Regina supervises homework and activities, plans monthly field trips, helps celebrate holidays and special occasions, and has even started an essay writing contest to recognize Black History Month. “Last year,” she says “we had five essays. This year we had twelve.”

Regina remembers what it was like when she and her younger sister were the new kids in town in elementary school, after moving to Charlottesville from Ohio. It was not always easy navigating her neighborhood as a newcomer, and she draws on these memories as she provides a steady adult presence for the young people under her watch. What does she think the kids at the community center get from her? “Attention, love, knowing someone cares about them.”

When older kids she knew in their younger days see her around town, greeting her warmly, she reflects “I feel pretty good that I touched somebody’s heart over the years.”

Regina is the mother of two grown children, a son and daughter, and grandmother to two grandsons. “Most of the kids here call me ‘Ms. Regina,’” but she knows she fills a different role for each child in her care, each with his or her own needs. Sometimes, she admits, the children can be a handful as they struggle with life’s challenges and learn to negotiate conflict—just as it was when she was growing up. She is at Friendship Court three days a week now, and the other two days each week at Tonsler Park. At the end of the work day, Ms. Regina says, “when I leave I always think – God, did I do a good job today? He always finds a way to let me know that I did.”

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