#GivingTuesday: Meet Alejandra and Aaliyah

Alejandra and her daughter Aaliyah, age 1.

Now through the end of December we’ll be sharing stories about families and child care providers whose lives have been impacted by Children’s Council. Today we introduce mom Alejandra and her daughter Aaliyah.

Help us give more parents like Alejandra the chance to choose their path to success. Your donation to Children’s Council will help every day count for our city’s kids and families!

MAKE YOUR GIFT TO CHILDREN’S COUNCIL NOW: www.childrenscouncil.org/giveback

When Alejandra Iraheta came to Children’s Council in 2007, she was in a desperate situation. A lifelong Mission resident and a single mom, Alejandra had lost her full-time job during her pregnancy. She and her six-month-old daughter Aaliyah were living with her sister.

Alejandra had a part-time job at a coffee shop and was enrolled at City College, but she was having trouble focusing on school and career goals because of difficulty finding quality child care for Aaliyah.

“When I was growing up, my mom was single too,” says Alejandra. “She had so few resources, she couldn’t afford child care… I remember spending a lot of time alone watching TV. I wanted something better for my daughter, I wanted her to have all the educational experiences I did not have.”

Alejandra wanted so much more than day care. She wanted her child to experience nature, learn academic skills, become independent and learn to get along with other children. “I knew the kind of child care I wanted for Aaliyah, but I just could not afford it. Luckily I came to Children’s Council.”

At Children’s Council, we helped Alejandra secure financial assistance to pay for the child care she wanted so badly for Aaliyah. A few months later, Alejandra secured a spot in a great child care program. “I didn’t have to worry about my daughter; I knew she was safe, learning and growing, and I could focus on my own goals. Quality child care changed everything for us.”

Alejandra and her daughter Aaliyah, at “Day of the Dead” celebration at The Presidio.

Alejandra soon found her passion; she studied Ethnic Studies, and got her B.A. After graduation, she became an Interpretive Park Ranger at the Presidio, leading tours and sharing her enthusiasm for our city’s history and cultural diversity with visitors. In 2014, Alejandra completed a Master’s Degree program and was promoted by the National Park Service.

“If I had not come to Children’s Council, I would not have been able to afford child care, I would never have reached my education and career goals,” she says. “Now I have an amazing job and Aaliyah is doing so well in school. She is independent, curious and engaged in school. I know a lot of this came from her early child care experiences.”

Alejandra and her daughter Aaliyah, age 11.

Alejandra was fortunate. She found Children’s Council, received the support she needed, and now she and her daughter are thriving.

Alejandra goes on to say, “I love how diverse and interesting our city is. But I see that changing because so many parents cannot afford to work or go to school, and pay for child care. I was so lucky, I didn’t have to wait very long to get Aaliyah into a quality child care program.”

Every day counts for kids 0-5 years old because of their rapid brain development; and every day counts for parents struggling to make the choices they know will move their families ahead. But today, more than 50% of San Francisco’s families with children are not making ends meet. Children’s Council needs your support to reach these families, and to help them find and pay for child care that meets their needs.

Alejandra and Aaliyah are just one of 15,000 families Children’s Council supports every year. Help us give more parents the chance to choose their path to success. Your donation to Children’s Council will help every day count for our city’s kids and families!

MAKE YOUR GIFT TO CHILDREN’S COUNCIL NOW: www.childrenscouncil.org/giveback

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