Our parents praise their favorite part of their Kidango experience, including the nutrition program, the multicultural atmosphere, the interaction children have with their peers, and the family-centric model.
Check out our video to listen from the source!
When you meet Alajandra, she has a glow about her. She is warm and enthusiastic. She loves her family, her work and life. She’s passionate about where her future is headed and she’s excited to be working toward her goals. Her experience at Kidango has helped her along her way to reaching her goals.
When Alajandra first came to Kidango, she and her children lived in what she described as a “small and dirty garage.” She moved to the United States from Tijuana and was working cleaning jobs at homes and hotels to make ends meet. When she was working, she had to leave her children with friends or neighbors who could take them. She did not have family nearby, so the care they received was inconsistent.
Alajandra was referred to Kidango and noticed changes in her children right away. Alajandra described her son as a “poor eater” prior to coming to Kidango, but after receiving Kidango’s nutritional meals, he started to eat fuller meals and he became healthier. Through our Head Start program, Alajandra was also able to qualify for dental and health screenings.
When Alajandra’s daughter, Susanna, enrolled at Kidango, she was having trouble with language development. The teachers at Kidango Rix Center took special care to help Susanna with her language. The teachers asked Alajandra what words Susanna knew. Since the family’s first language is Spanish, the words that Susanna was familiar with were in Spanish. The teachers in Susanna’s classroom did not all speak Spanish, but took the time to learn how to pronounce the words and phrases and understand the meanings, so they could help Susana develop her language skills. Alejandra was touched by the extra efforts of these teachers to support her child and make her family feel welcome. Since enrolling at Kidango Susanna’s language has improved so much that Alajandra now says she “can’t get Susanna to stop talking!”
The directors and teachers at Kidango encouraged Alajandra to volunteer in the Kidango classrooms. Through their support and encouragement, Alajandra was able to gain enough experience through volunteering that she was able to apply for and receive a job as a Teacher’s Aide at Kidango. She now works full-time at the Kidango Rix Center and is able to maintain those hours because of the care she receives at Kidango.
Alajandra’s son recently completed Kidango’s preschool program. His teachers in Kindergarten were impressed by how prepared he was for Kindergarten. They’ve mentioned how he can add numbers, knows the alphabet, can organize himself for tasks, and can be independent. Alajandra is very proud when she hears these comments and knows that her experience with Kidango helped her son succeed.
Alajandra and her family now live in a one bedroom apartment in Fremont. She looks forward to going to Chabot College next year to begin working toward her degree in Early Education. Alajandra hopes to become a Master Teacher and to one day own her own childcare business in her home.
Alajandra feels that Kidango is helping her on her way to achieving her goals for her children and for herself. She sees it in the teachers who help her children learn both English and Spanish words, the directors and teachers who encourage her every day in her new job, and from the family she has created at the Rix Center. She says she has received so much from the Kidango program and believes it is the best program she could’ve found for her family. She said she would like to find all the nice words in the world and those are what she would give to Kidango.
–Marc Baker, Vice President of Development & Communications
Rhonda Santoni and her four children have been enrolled at Kidango Rix since 2009 and have gone through our toddler program and preschool program. When she started in our program she was going through the adoption procedure for these four who are now officially Santoni’s!. In the process she has since added two other children to her family as foster children and she is currently in the process of adopting them and making them Santoni’s as well. Rhonda immediately enrolled these two children here at the Rix center in 2013 and they too have gone through the toddler and preschool programs.
Rhonda is a single mother to these six children and is an inspiration to me and to many others. Being a foster parent comes with many challenges and appointments and through it all Rhonda and her six children always are at school on time, clean, happy and ready to learn. Rhonda is very dedicated to her children and enjoys being a part of the activities in their rooms(open houses, parent involvement, etc.) and events the program holds( family socials, school readiness etc.) you will always find the family here participating.
Throughout my five years here at Rix I have been blessed to be involved in this families lives and have seen how appreciative they are as a whole family for being able to come to a place where they are safe, cared for and in a positive learning environment. Knowing that her six children are truly cared for each day enables Rhonda to go to work and be able to provide for her family which she is truly thankful for. She couldn’t ask for more then she gets surprised by the blessings of donations to her children through Carter’s, Toy’s R Us etc and her heart just seems to melt. Rhonda is a very strong person but when the main office and the staff her think of her and her family she has broken into tears that were so heartfelt and genuine. It has been so amazing to watch these little ones grow and blossom into such amazing young children.
–Jennifer Ralph, Master Teacher at Kidango Rix Center
Mickey* started attending Kidango’s Early Intervention program six months ago. He showed severe signs of autism spectrum disorder and was previously diagnosed with PTSD. Mickey was a typical two year old except the fact that he didn’t make any eye contact with others, he got very aggressive with people who approached him and the only way he ate his food is in a liquid form. Mickey’s mother, Christina*, became pregnant with Mickey while she was a victim of human trafficking. As a result, Mickey spent his days in the hands of the traffickers where he had little to no supervision while his mom was coerced to work. Just six weeks before starting at Kidango, Mickey and his mom escaped to find a better life.
Since Mickey’s referral to Kidango, he has shown many developmental milestones. Jennifer Boyden, Early Intervention Services Program Manager describes Mickey as a completely different kid: “ “Not only is he independent now, he engages with his peers and has started to eat solid foods. He is joyful and absolutely thriving!”
–Jennifer Boyden, Early Intervention Services Manager
*Name was changed to protect privacy of the individual
Mariana* was a teen parent dropping out of high school. Kidango enrolled her child in preschool, with free tuition. With the peace of mind that Kidango was caring for, nurturing, and educating her child, Mariana returned to school herself—graduating on time, continuing to college, and ultimately becoming an attorney.
*Name was changed to protect privacy of the individual
“Kidango Cureton means a safe place for my kids to be while I am at work. The staff is well-trained and they provide the care that parents need!”
“The Kidango Cureton staff is dedicated and reliable. They provide care for each individual child and they are sensitive to each child’s needs. The staff works diligently to help each child learn and grow at their own pace. My family has attended the Kidango Cureton site for five years and I would strongly recommend that all parents visit, tour, observe and enroll in the center!”
Being a young single mother has been extremely difficult especially when it came down to going back to school. For me finding Kidango has truly been a blessing because Kidango has given me the opportunity to continue a higher education at California State University, East Bay. In addition, I am very happy with Kidango’s Preschool services as well as the emotional support I receive from Kidango’s staff. My daughter has been at Kidango for two years and she is learning all the essential skills to prepare her to Kindergarten.
I think that without Kidango’s support I would not been able to make any goals come true and to change my life for the better. Kidango does indeed inspire and helps you reach a better future. There are no words to express how deeply I appreciate Kidango’s assistance.
Thank you very much,
I love your organization. I am a single mother of four children, three of which I adopted. My youngest is four [years old] Christopher, who attends Kidango. Ms. Balwinder, Ms. Shou and Ms. Sheila are some of the nicest, loving, and kind teachers. My son was in a family day care since he was three months. The agency cut off money that he was getting for daycare. So he was out of day care for several months and he was a mess. Thank God For Kidango. He is so structured now and back on a schedule. He loves getting up and going to school always. This is due to the fact that the ladies above have made his transition so smooth!!
To really know that when I drop off my precious baby that he is loved and cared for is just so heart felt to me. God bless all of you!!
Very Sincerely and with Best Regards
My name is Rosa Arguelles. This letter is in regards to my experience with Community Family Services. I became a mother at the age of 22. I was a single mother trying to support my daughter with very little income. I was living with my...
about CFS, a program within Kidango:
My name is Rosa Arguelles. This letter is in regards to my experience with Community Family Services. I became a mother at the age of 22. I was a single mother trying to support my daughter with very little income. I was living with my parents who did what they could to help me, but financially I had to do what I could for my daughter and me.
Times were very tough and when it came time to find childcare for my daughter, I could not afford it. What I made at the time wasn’t enough. I heard about Community Family Services through a relative of mine. I signed up for the program right away. My daughter was placed in a daycare, and it was very affordable. I couldn’t believe it. My daughter was not only looked after while I was at work, but she was potty trained and learned her ABC’s there. She loved it! She was well taken care of and I was relieved to know that someone from Community Family Services would visit the daycare to make sure that everything was running fine. When Christmas came around, the children in the daycare were adopted from people in the community. My daughter, Larissa, came home with so many presents. Just to see her face when she opened those presents brought tears to my eyes. I could only give her what I could, but it was nice to know that people out there cared about these children, and they were willing to give what they could for them. After a couple of years, I started making more money at my job and Larissa started kindergarten, so I took her out of the program.
I know how hard it is being a single parent and I know there are a lot of single parents out there that need the help and get the help from you. I received so much help through you, and I am thankful to all of you and what you do for the community.
I just recently got married and had twins. We are now able to give Larissa and our sons what they need (even though Larissa wants everything), and we are very happy. We have our health and financially we are doing well.
This year my husband and I decided to give back to Community Family Services. We both work together at 21st Century Insurance in San Jose. We got together with other coworkers and decided to collect money and food to make meal boxes for Thanksgiving for families. Everyone pulled through and we were able to make enough food boxes for 14 families. For Christmas, we decided to adopt a few families and give them presents. I am grateful that we have such a giving staff here at 21st Century and that my husband and I could give back.
This is my way of saying THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!
Rosa and Marc