It’s time for birthday “cake” to celebrate 3-year-old Ryan’s recent birthday. The children in San Juana’s family childcare get to work in their “bakery,” mixing flour, food coloring, and water, rolling it, patting it, and adding a popsicle stick “candle” to top off this sensory exploration/perfect birthday treat.
San Juana is part of Allies for Every Child’s (Allies) network of dozens of contracted family childcare providers throughout Los Angeles who are supported by Allies’ child development staff to ensure that children in daycare are receiving the highest quality early education.
By working with Allies’ Family Support Specialist Cynthia, San Juana is a conduit to all of Allies’ supportive services, including mental health supports, case management, disabilities services, prenatal programs, and community social events, further expanding Allies’ reach into the community.
San Juana is fascinated by child development, working to completely overhaul her home to be a creative space for developing minds – replete with dramatic play areas, cozy corners for reading books, and a sandbox that doubles as a dinosaur excavation site. She attends monthly Allies trainings on everything from trauma-informed care and infant mental health to dealing with challenging behaviors and potty training issues – taking advantage of Allies’ deep network of resources to expand the supports she can offer to her families.
She’s a tireless advocate for children and families, supporting them with any challenge they face. When she noticed one of the girls in her class was struggling to speak, San Juana connected her with Allies’ Disabilities Manager to enroll in speech therapy. When one of her families was in a rental dispute with their landlord and had to move into an unfurnished garage, she worked with Cynthia to secure furniture and a refrigerator so the family could sleep in a warm bed and store fresh, healthy foods. She routinely refers her families to Allies’ Prevention & Aftercare program for case management, and is a regular at Allies’ social events to help plug her families into the supportive community that they need.
San Juana is also a trusted, loyal confidante for families in the program, who often consider her an extension of their family. When an expectant mother in her class had nowhere to turn when she needed someone to watch her son while she delivered her baby, San Juana didn’t think twice before offering up her home. If a parent needs to work an extra shift on a weekend to make ends meet, she doesn’t hesitate to offer to babysit to help ease the burden on her families. She’s always available to lend an ear to a family in need, celebrating their triumphs and empathizing with their challenges.
There’s no challenge too great or any task too small for San Juana, making her a perfect fit for Allies’ comprehensive approach to providing nurturing childhoods for the children in our Los Angeles community.