Flight Attendant Finds New Life in Child Life

Lynn Kokal working on two degrees

Lynn Kokal, 47, worked as a flight attendant for Northwest and Mesaba for 20 years. Kokal was based out of Boston and Detroit, covering overseas routes to places like Frankfurt and Amsterdam, often on military charters. Eventually, she began searching for another career so she could closer to her 9-year-old daughter, Sara.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Kokal, who is a 1983 graduate of Bloomington Jefferson High School, “but I knew I worked well with kids.”

Child Life Assistant Instructor Dawn Braa with Student and ChildWith fall semester 2009 approaching, she did some research online, which led her to a DCTC Tuesday Campus Visit. She met with Dean Sherralyn Cox and in no time was working on two degrees, an A.A.S. in Early Childhood & Youth Development and Child Life Assistant.

As part of the Child Life Assistant program, Kokal received her field experience at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. She strongly recommends that students should do at least six months of child life volunteer work in a hospital setting as they work toward their degree.

Early Childhood & Youth Development Students with Children“I love helping children,” she said. “As a child life assistant, you are the fun person. You provide distraction and are there to help a child get through a very difficult time.”

Instructor Dawn Braa reported that the Child Life Assistant program will be spotlighted in the December 2011 issue of Light Spinner, a quarterly magazine that focuses on content and resources related to child life specialists and their practices. To learn more, visit the Early Childhood & Youth Development blog, which is packed with information and includes a full roster of guest speakers. Light Spinner founder, Sarah Mendivel, was the blog’s guest speaker in September 2011.

For more information about the Child Life Assistant and the Early Childhood & Youth Development programs, contact:
  • Jill Behnke
    Early Childhood & Youth Development Instructor
  • Dawn Braa
    Early Childhood & Youth Development Instructor

Or visit the Early Childhood & Youth Development blog!

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