By Sonia Lee Garber
Caroline Peters began her Abrakadoodle business in September of 2019. However, education is something Peters stepped into all the way back in 2006. Peters tutored when she was younger and participated in mentoring programs, and she wanted to transition from what she was doing into the educational field. She came here to New York from Florida where she worked in insurance and resided in New York City. Peters had always had a passion for working with children, especially special needs children, having grown up with a nephew that had a Downs Syndrome.
“I think there’s so many obstacles and red tape that they have to overcome that puts them in a box that they don’t necessarily fit in…with Abrakadoodle it offers so much creative opportunity. It allows the kids to be put at the center of their own learning. And that’s really what inspired me to do this work.” Says Peters.She goes on to say, “One of the things we really focus on is specializing our curriculum to fit the needs of the children and not vice versa. We try to make sure that we keep things as open and as flexible as possible, so it doesn’t exclude anyone.”Peters pursued her career in education via the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, which helped her get her first teaching job.
Peters came to Peekskill from New York City because she and her family grew tired of living in such tight quarters. That’s what led them to find their dream home in Peekskill!
“I absolutely love our little city”, she says, and goes on to say,
“You know, one of the things…when you come into Peekskill, there’s a sign that says, “Peekskill is a friendly town” and those words couldn’t be truer. It really is. I love my neighbors. I love our Mayor, Mayor Rainey. I know he’s not running for another term, but I think that the people in our community is what makes us so special and unique. And I’m so glad I have the opportunity to have a small business right now during such a hard time.”Peters’ Abrakadoodle classes provide instruction for children as young as two years old and go all the way until 12 or 13. She also does private classes, and “Arty Parties” for children and adults.She is doing virtual programming now as well due to Covid. All of her materials are sanitized, cleansed, and packaged separately. In person, temperatures are checked and participants will also be taking a survey to indicate whether or not they’ve been out of the area. They will also be wearing masks and taking frequent breaks to wash hands.“We’re definitely doing all we can to keep not only our staff, but those that we come in contact with as safe as possible.” Says Peters, and then goes on to say,
“We’ve really tried to adapt to the needs of our community, given the state that our country and the world is in right now.”Peters has three teachers that are all art driven.“They’re amazing. They’re a great group and they’ve stuck by me”, says Peters.Back in the fall of 2020 she partnered with Eastchester Parks and Recreation, and she’s going to be working with them to do a virtual program. Currently, she’s offering a winter program from February 16-19 with two groups: one aged 3-5 and one aged 6-12.As far as for the future of her business, Peters says, she would like to see Abrakadoodle partner with Peekskill Recreation. Also, she would like to continue working with the community by putting art in different galleries and holding fundraisers for the schools. Caroline Peters wants folks to think about Abrakadoodle when they think of Peekskill, and how her organization will support the community here and create job opportunities.
“I’m excited about the future, really. And I believe that we are New York strong, and we will come out of this pandemic stronger and better than ever.”, says Peters.