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Raising Children in Community

March 2, 2018

We are kicking off the first Friday of Women’s History Month with the words of one of the amazing mothers in our community who sends her children to GLIDE’s Janice Mirikitani Family, Youth and Childcare Center (FYCC). Gabby emigrated to San Francisco from Guadalajara, Mexico 15 years ago, and, like hundreds of other parents, has relied on FYCC to lovingly care for her children so that she can work, study and provide a warm home and hopeful future for her family.

We’ve been around GLIDE for 13 years. I have two older boys who started at GLIDE’s Family, Youth and Childcare Center [FYCC] when they were babies. Now they’re teenagers, and now I have two little ones who are in preschool and the toddler room. I have a boy named Josiah, he’s four, and Jenny, who is two.

Right now, I’m getting financial aid, Welfare to Work and going to City College and studying child development. My dream is to become a preschool teacher. To me, the ages from three to five are very important because that’s when you learn the most, when you are learning to go to school. My interest is in helping kids prepare to transition to go to kindergarten. My kids are really supportive of me, and are always asking me if I need any help with my homework!

Well, every single day they get excited just to come to school. I think it’s the environment with the teachers. Every morning Jenny goes in and starts yelling the teacher’s name and runs to give her a hug. I’m really happy leaving my kids with people that love them. The teachers don’t just take care of them; they give them a little piece of their love.

So, every single day my kids ask:
“Are we going to school?”

And then on Saturday they ask the same thing, and when I say “No,” they say, “Oh. When are we going back to school?” They’re just happy to be at school.

Thirteen years ago, I was looking for childcare for my son Jacob, and FYCC called me and said they had a space for me. I came in and looked around, and talked to La Monica [Director of FYCC]. At that time, she was the manager for preschool. And I loved it! Two days later Jacob started.

By my kids being in this program, I’ll be able to go to school. I’ll be able to take some classes that I need to finish my education and make a better future for my kids.

To me FYCC is very special in many different ways. I used to work here, too. The people around are really with you all the time and they give you love no matter what. What makes it special is that no matter what race you are, they still accept you and support you.

By my kids being in this program, I’ll be able to go to school. I’ll be able to take some classes that I need to finish my education and make a better future for my kids. Right now we’re having a hard situation in our family, which is the separation of parents, and I’m by myself with four kids. And FYCC helps me a lot with all the Christmas gifts [from GLIDE’s holiday toy drive]. It’s so helpful.

Programs like FYCC are important in San Francisco because, especially with afterschool programs, there is a place kids to go after school so they don’t get out of control. There’s a teacher to help them with homework. To me, the kids are the future, so if you have programs or resources that help them to grow up, it’s one of the best things that we as humans can do.