Katie Madigan is a suburban Chicago native who came to Central Illinois for her graduate education – and never left. (Sound familiar?) She currently works as a speech-language pathologist in Tolono Unit 7 schools, serving children ages 3-11 in two elementary schools. She is an active volunteer and leader in the Champaign-Urbana Cradle to Career initiative and Junior League of CU. She is the co-Vice President of Thomas Paine PTA and served as a cookie coordinator for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop this year. She is also the co-chair, along with State Sen. Scott Bennett, of this Saturday’s Ready Set Grow! event. Katie and her husband, Jared Lofrano, live in Urbana with their daughter Madeline and a small menagerie of pets.
See why we think Katie is a Chambana Mom to Know.
Q: Ready Set Grow! is such a wonderful event. Tell us about the event and what you are most excited for about this weekend.
Ready Set Grow! is an expo for expectant families and those with young children in CU. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about some of the resources available to families. It is also an opportunity for families to interact with some of these exhibitors and to learn on site. We also have some fun mixed in! There is a Touch a Truck event, gymnastics demonstrations, characters, and some amazing prizes and giveaways! I think that I am most excited to meet Olaf and Cinderella and to see the kids having fun!
Q: This weekend is pretty crowded – why should families get out to RSG?
Ready Set Grow! is a completely free event that will be an opportunity to learn and have fun together as a family. Studies show that almost 90% of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. With that in mind, this event is designed to connect parents and caregivers to vital resources in our community that can help their child grow and be ready to enter school. There will be 50 exhibitors in one place where parents can learn about healthy parenting, childcare and well being, and early childhood development, etc.
Q: How did you become involved in civic life and community service?
As a kid I had a wonderful role model in my mother. She volunteered to serve on our school PTA, served in various roles in our church, and was a leader of my Girl Scout troops. She also volunteer coached soccer teams, even when my brother and I weren’t on them. She did this all while working full time as a teacher and speech-language pathologist and raising two kids. I probably didn’t realize it at the time, but she showed me how important it was to think about and serve others. I became active in the Junior League of CU when I first moved to the area. It helped me to learn about the community and adopt it as my own. I now consider Champaign-Urbana my home and I strive to make it an even better place to live!
Q: What is your advice to parents who want to get their children more involved in community service?
Be a role model for your children. It’s important for your kids to see you become involved in things that matter to you. I take my daughter with me when possible to meetings and volunteer events so that she can see the work that I and others are doing. I think that helps children to realize that the world does not always revolve just around them.
Q: You are passionate about your work with children. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I do love children and try to be an advocate for them whenever I can. I especially enjoy the ages from 3-5 because of all of the growth that happens during that time. My work involves children with a variety of special needs and I truly enjoy seeing every small milestone that they meet, no matter when. I also find great joy in being able to report to their parents how much they have grown in their communication abilities!
Q: If you weren’t in speech pathology, what do you think you would do professionally?
Well, I do hold a Masters in Educational Leadership and my administrative certificate so if I were not a speech-pathologist I would like to pursue work as a school administrator in either the field of special education or early childhood. I really enjoy my work now though because I get to have a lot of quality time with my students.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, and money wasn’t an object: where would you go and who would you take with you, and why?
I think I would go on a European tour with my husband, daughter, and parents. I’ve been to France once when I was in high school and I would really like to go back, but I would also like to see many of the other countries, the amazing sights, and sample the local foods and culture. I would like to spend as much time with my parents as possible and would love for my daughter to experience the world and see her ancestral roots. I am also a person who likes to be on the go, so a lounging vacation does not appeal to me.
Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday with your family, in Champaign-Urbana?
My favorite way to spend a Saturday with my family in the summer in Champaign-Urbana would probably include going to the Market at the Square in the morning, working in my yard and going for a walk in the afternoon, and then either eating at one of our fabulous local restaurants or entertaining friends with a barbecue out on our deck.
Katie Madigan was nominated to be a Chambana mom to know. Nominate a mom or dad today — it’s easy!