A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Theresa Argueta

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Theresa Argueta

Early childhood can be one of the most impactful parts of a person’s life. Young children are highly impressionable and in a stage that determines how the rest of their life will go. The people who influence, raise, and teach these young children can have a big effect on their lives. Perhaps one of the most impactful adult roles in a child’s life is their teachers and counselors, such as Theresa Argueta, director of early childhood programs at Paladin Inc.

Argueta grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. After graduating from Barrington High School, she went on to earn her undergraduate degree at Valparaiso University, and her master’s degree at Roosevelt University of Chicago. 

“I went into the field of early childhood education so that I could positively impact the landscape of it on a global scale by providing a micro example of what high quality early learning experiences look and feel like,” Argueta said. 

Argueta has now been working at Paladin for seven years. Being the director of early childhood programs, Argueta’s role consists of an extremely wide range of responsibilities. She is always finding new ways to help the children at Paladin. 

“I guess I’ve never thought about a typical day at work because, for me, it’s not a thing,” Argueta said. 

Paladin runs many childhood programs such as toddler care, pre-k, and summer camps all for young children. Argueta is in charge of managing and supporting these programs’ direction and goals. 

“I set strategic direction and monitor our goals with family and child outcomes, community partnership, health, and parent and family engagement,” Argueta said. “I also provide professional development in my area of expertise which is child development.” 

This job is a very important part of Paladin, since the early childhood programs make up a big part of the entire organization. Argueta is responsible for a lot of the major decisions surrounding the early childhood programs. It is very important to her that the kids get the best experience they can out of them. 

“I have always believed in magic. I believe in kindness, joy, silliness, and love. I believe in others; that everyone has an individual voice and strengths that make their contributions to our world unique. I believe in people's capacity for growth and healing,” Argueta said. 

These are the kinds of experiences Argueta wants to add to children’s lives. Having two daughters of her own, Mari and Cynthia, she knows how important it is that children share these values and understand the importance of both individual strength and teamwork. 

“I believe in family; in coming together, finding what unites us, and working in harmony to help the world around us,” Argueta said. 

Outside of work, Argueta spends most of her time out in nature with her husband and her two daughters. 

“My husband, my children, and I like to do things that are out in nature. We like to kayak, and we like to go for bike rides,” Argueta said. 

Argueta’s children are the most important things in her life, and inspire her everyday to continue doing the gracious work she does. 

“My dream is to build a place where families, staff, and community members come together and work in concert to meet the needs of our youngest children in a way that fosters individual growth, strengthens the capacity of the community, and makes the world a more beautiful place to live,” Argueta said. “True magic comes from within each of us, when we believe in each other and are powered by service and love.”