(NECN: Latoyia Edwards) - A child's smile can brighten up any day – especially when you walk inside the preschool classroom at Horizons For Homeless Children in Dorchester, Mass.
There, children like 4-year-old Katherine, a little girl with an infectious personality, learn and play, free from the worries they may experience after they leave for the day.
"When they first start, their life is usually in turmoil. You know, they've been moving around a lot. The parents are experiencing a lot of stress," Beth Phillips, who works at Horizons For Homeless Children, says.
Beth says when Katherine first came to the center, she was withdrawn and unsure, but “has really blossomed in the past few years.”
Katherine's journey to Horizons began when she was almost 3 years old. A quiet little girl who only spoke Spanish, she quickly turned into an outgoing child with an endearing little voice.
At Horizons, Katherine has proven to be an outstanding student who loves books, puzzles and problem solving.
Her teachers say she is wise beyond her years.
In the classroom, Katherine also demonstrates exceptional kindness and patience. Everyone wants to be her friend.
"If the teacher is having a rough day, often times the other children aren't really aware of it but Katherine will come up and sit on your lap and give you a hug and say I love you," Beth says.
Beth says Katherine is a great example of Horizon's success stories.
"They already have enough going against them in life, so to be able to feel successful right away in kindergarten and feel ‘I can already do this. I already know how to walk in line. I already know how to write my name’ will boost their self- confidence and put them a step ahead right from the get go," Beth says.
Something this bright and loving little girl has already mastered.