Christina Bothun decided to grow up to be the difference.

"I wanted to grow up to be a few different things - police officer, lawyer, nurse - but I have always wanted a job where I can make a difference," said Bothun, Fillmore Central's new early childhood family education (ECFE) parent educator.

"My biggest passion is working with the elderly, though," she continued. "There is just something about making a difference in their lives and the amount of respect I have for them and everything they have been through for us. I owe most of my passion to my Oma (grandma). She used to take my sister and me to the nursing home in Chatfield once a week to bring them cookies and visit them."

Bothun is currently attending Rasmussen College for a degree in healthcare informational management, but she's enjoying her role as ECFE parent educator.

"I educate parents on a multitude of topics, each related to helping understand their children's development and building parenting skills," she explained. "I have been teaching at ECFE for a few weeks now. This is my first experience teaching a class within the school system, and I was a paraprofessional for the Root River Program. I love that as a parent educator, I am able to make a difference as well as learn from them, too. These parents have great ideas and techniques but are open to new ideas. It is a good supportive group."

She also admitted, "To be 100 percent honest, this job really kind of found me. I didn't go looking, but what really caught my attention was the potential to make a difference as well as be a part of a really great team!"

Bothun added that she loves that Fillmore Central is a very welcoming group and the teachers all work together well.

"I have always loved Fillmore Central," she continued. "My children have come here since the beginning, and you can tell they are a school who really care about the future of the children and the community."

She hopes to help teach parents and children how to play and learn together in new ways. "I feel that for anyone to succeed in life - career or personal wise - social skills are essential. While I feel academics are very important, social skills such as being respectful, having empathy for others, being held accountable for their choices, being resourceful, et cetera, are imperative to be able to survive in the reality of life."

Bothun continued, "Every parent is different, as well as their parenting styles. I hope to give them ideas and resources that they can utilize to help with their parenting and enhance their relationship with their children."

Bothun has five children and she knows very well that what works for one child doesn't always work for the next, and parenting techniques are the same.

"What I teach may not work for all, but if my teaching helps even one parent, then I've done my job," she said. "In the few weeks of me doing this, I have learned a lot from them as well, and for that I am very appreciative of them."

She's up for the challenges her job presents. "I think with teaching any class or subject with a diverse group attending, it's inevitable you are going to run into challenges. I think the main challenge I may run into is providing such a wide variety of parenting techniques, seeing how everyone is different and while one technique works for one family it may not for another. I can't say I don't love a good challenge, though, so I am up for it. I used to hate a challenge growing up, but as I have aged, I have learned to appreciate them. I expect to gain more experience and knowledge. I love learning new things, as well as sharing what I have learned with others."

Most of all, Bothun is excited to be able to assist with community events. "I love helping out with community events, so the events that ECFE and the school put on throughout the year, I am more than excited to be a part of," she said.

She and her family "live in Preston and LOVE it...the community is just like family to us!"

She's married to her high school sweetheart and best friend, Jason Bothun.

"We have been married since 2002 and I really do not get how he has put up with me for this long," she joked. "We have five amazing children together. Dylan, 10, our sports-obsessed son; Hannah, 9, who has been blessed with her grandfather's artistic abilities; Abigail, 7, my feisty but yet sweet personality twin; Audrey, 5, who has the ability to make even the crabbiest person smile; and Gavin, 4, our youngest who is the daredevil and will try almost anything - one day this one will give me grey hair or put me 6 feet under."

She keeps very busy outside of school. "I love to spend time with my family and friends, whether it be canoeing and tubing, grilling or bonfires, or cooking. And oddly, I do like to clean...very weird, but it has worked in my favor most times. But my most treasured is our family nights with games, movies and popcorn with the kids and Jason - and we try to do this once a week. This is a tradition carried on from my childhood - my mom made our TGIF nights the best - and I want those memories for my children, too."