Pangasinense excels in child care education in California

A FORMER director of St. John Institute, a family-owned private school in Bautista town in Pangasinan, is the only Filipina who qualified to receive $25,000 (approximately P1.5 million) grant from the First 5 LA, a state agency in California that supports diverse set of grants and programs that seek to improve  the well-being of young children and families in Los Angeles.

Teacher Susan M. Garcia was recently selected from hundreds of applicants to receive free funding for her facility, ‘Susan’s Kids First Family Day Care’ licensed by the State of California on March 11, 1966, based on her educational qualifications and narrative presentation of the programs and projects she envisions to pursue and implement in her facility.

To avail of the grant, Garcia attended workshops on the ABCs of grant writing. Sponsored by LA’s Community Development Center, she was almost discouraged because of the voluminous forms that  needed to be accomplished.

But setting aside her frustrations, she attended two more workshops. With $25,000 in mind, she took the challenge and submitted her application before the deadline, saying “I want to have a share of that $1.2-million bonanza and improve my facility.”

Before Garcia received the good news, an American lady-educator made an unannounced on-sight visitation of Susan’s Kids First Family Day Care. Then, on a fateful day in December, she received a phone call congratulating her as one of the grant’s lucky recipients.

Garcia immigrated to the United States in 1988 and stayed in Guam for two years before relocating to Los Angeles where she applied for a teaching job at St. Jude Preschool owned by a Filipina doctor. She was initially hired as teacher-aide then promoted as full-time teacher in a week’s time. She was ultimately appointed school director.

She went back to school and took up “Basic Core Program in Early Childhood Education” at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), passed the board and obtained a license as Certified Nursing Assistant.

Months after buying a house in February 1996, her application to operate a child care facility was approved by the Department of Social Service of the State of California.

The facility does not only babysit but implements an educationally structured curricula for different age groups, the kids for higher levels of school, readiness, promote their cognitive development and foster children’s social skills.

To date, Garcia has produced five valedictorians. One of them is taking up journalism at UC Berkeley while the rest of KFFDC alumni are pushing college education. (Leonardo Micua)

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