8th Apr 2019

30 years of care and continuing education

Edith Gonzalez left El Salvador nearly thirty years ago, while the country was in the midst of a brutal civil war that was entering its second decade. When she arrived in California, finally safe from the political violence of her home country, she needed to find a way to support her family.

Edith began working as a building manager, quickly developing positive relationships with her tenants and creating a sense of community in her new surroundings. Eventually, one of the tenants approached Edith about watching their five children while they were at work—a testament to the amount of trust she had fostered with the families in her building. Edith had always loved working with kids and was excited by this new opportunity. Fortunately, the family seeking child care qualified for financial aid from Pathways LA, and Edith began using the organization’s resources to register as a provider and take part in their numerous training opportunities.

Pathways LA helped Edith enroll in the Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP), which provides support and resources for child care providers. CCIP also assisted Edith in obtaining her provider license in 1994, so that she could open her own daycare. As her own children grew older, Edith was gradually able to expand her business and increase her capacity for enrollment. She has now cared for more than sixty children since first launching her daycare. Edith’s relationship with Pathways LA did not conclude when she received her license—she has continued to utilize the organization’s many opportunities for training, support, and professional development.

In 2015, Edith took part in Gateways for Early Educators, a countywide initiative spearheaded by Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles (CCALA). Through Gateways, Pathways LA gave Edith one-on-one coaching support, helping her identify and work towards educational and quality improvement goals. As a result of the program, she learned about the process to enroll at East Los Angeles College to pursue a degree in child development. At the same time she enrolled in the Family Child Care Higher Education Academy (Project Vistas), which provides tutoring, advisement, and professional development for family child care owners whose primary language is Spanish. This June, Edith will be honored at the 9th Annual Karen Kaye Achievement Award Celebration for having completed 144 hours of training in subjects such as child development, early childhood literacy, nutrition, First Aid and CPR, and business management.

Edith says the reason she keeps coming back to Pathways LA is that she learns something new every time. In addition to the academic curriculum, she is fascinated by the social-emotional aspects of child development and strives to constantly improve the quality of care for her children. She also loves being around other providers, learning from their experiences and fostering friendships with people who spend their days caring for young children.

Eventually, those children grow up. The little ones Edith first began watching all those years ago, while she was their parents’ building manager, now have kids of their own. Two of the siblings in Edith’s first class are working as nurses, and when they need support they still reach out to Edith. The relationships are truly lifelong, and the positive impact of their early childhood education is never-ending. As for Edith, she is continuing her own education and, because she loves what she does, looks forward to taking care of a whole new generation of children—hopefully for another 30 years.