A teacher’s influence is exponential. One who remained in the community for several decades, who rose to the rank of executive director, whose efforts guided so many to a love of learning from their first day of school or before, the loss of such a one is felt deeply. Such a one was Miriam Cruz. Her daily accomplishments served more than 400 children in her capacity of operating Nuestros Niños Childhood Development Center, which consists of three child care centers and family child care network. She was committed to her work and was a champion for her staff, parents, and colleagues.
On Sunday October the 6th, Nuestros Niños’s Board and staff got the heart-wrenching news that their beloved and longtime Executive Director, Miriam Cruz, had passed away. Words cannot describe the void and pain that this departure has caused for her immediate family, the Nuestros Niños family and the Williamsburg community at large.
Miriam’s service to the Williamsburg community and its families spanned over four decades. She started her tenure as a teacher’s aide, went on to hold several other positions such as assistant teacher, group teacher, assistant director, after-school director, administrative director, and eventually filled the executive director’s position when founder and Executive Director John Mulhern retired.
Throughout her career at Nuestros Niños, which began in 1974, Miriam’s drive was to ensure that every child that came through Nuestros Niños’s door received the warmth and education that she would want for her own children. She was a steady steward of an organization that is synonymous with the Latino community of the Southside of Williamsburg.
A pioneer in the early care world, Miriam was known and loved throughout the City of New York as a true advocate for children.
“While we know that we must continue with our mission and vision, doing so without Miriam’s leadership has increased the challenge for all of us,” said Ramon Peguero, Chairman of the Board. “Her place in our hearts and her legacy of love and dedicated service will be used by all of us as inspiration to continue forward. She will be sorely missed. May she rest in peace.”
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez also recognized this loss, “Our community has lost a steadfast public servant and I have lost a dear friend. Miriam L. Cruz will be deeply missed, but always remembered for her kindness, warmth and the countless lives she improved.”
“Miriam was an incredibly caring professional for which generations of children, including a number of St. Nicks Alliance staff, benefited from her leadership and skill. St. Nicks Alliance was honored to collaborate with Miriam in serving school-age and pre-school children. We will sorely miss her beacon of light in the Williamsburg community. It was our privilege to have worked and served with Miriam.” said Michael Rochford, Executive Director.
A member of St. Nicks Alliance administration team, Karina Taveras shared, “I am profoundly grateful to Miriam’s advocacy and service to our Williamsburg community especially during the early years of raising my family when all three of my children participated in the home provider network starting at three-months old. They then moved on to Nuestros Niños Child Development Center. Miriam will be tremendously missed.”