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, Grants Manager 2010 (employee no longer with Kidango)