Stone Soup Fresno Early Learning Center grand opening 2016

“I want to help even the playing field for younger children”

By ELISA NAVARRO, Student Writer

“You may just be one person in the world but to one person, you are the world.”

This is a quote Wilma Hashimoto (1994) has used throughout her life.

Why, you may ask? Because of her life experiences and the passionate leader she has become in the Fresno Community for so many children.

At the age of 24, Hashimoto was living the life of her dreams after college.

“I graduated at 22, got married at 23, bought a house at 24. It was at Cinderella Story. You go to school, you graduate, and you work at a job you love,” said Hashimoto.

Until an unfortunate event happened.

“I was widowed at 25. My husband was killed by a drunk driver,” said Hashimoto.

“I don’t like to say that things happen for a reason because this was tragic, but it changed my my journey. Believing in God and that I am able to help children, has been my reward.”

AIMS Center Math and Science Education Research Division (Wilma Hashimoto: Third from the left standing up)

“This mindset helped me in the healing process, and to have that goal with children and you just can’t be sad.”

Hashimoto works as the Research Assistant at the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education.

“At AIMS, we want to positively change the trajectory of our youngest children by promoting early math opportunities beginning with the child’s first teacher, which is the parent, and then with the early learning educators. Research has indicated that young children with early math and literacy skills upon ENTERING kindergarten are twice as likely to be reading on grade level by 3rd grade than just early literacy skills.”

She is also a professor at Fresno Pacific University. Hashimoto has worked in education for completed 24 years, 18 years as a teacher, six years as Director of Early Childhood and Education for the Fresno County Office of Education and as an Assistant Superintendent for Fresno Unified School District.

Hashimoto also stays active in the community through extensive volunteering. She volunteers and has been a board member for CASA of Fresno and Madera Counties, the San Joaquin River Parkway Conservancy, the Marjaree Mason Top 10, Stone Soup Fresno, and served as Commissioner for First Five Fresno County.

Wilma Hashimoto

Hashimoto has been awarded for her work in education and the community. She was honored in 2008 as the Crystal Award Winner for the Clovis Unified School District, was recipient of the Marjaree Mason Center Top 10 Professional Woman Award in 2009 and finalist for the Fresno County Administrator Award of the Year in 2012.

“I certainly knew that I always wanted to help the community in some way. I have always wanted to even out the playing field for our at — risk children, and as long as I feel like I can contribute, then I will.”

Hashimoto currently resides in Clovis with her daughter Kylene (21) who also displays a propensity for philanthropic work.

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