Child care makes our lives possible

Margie Stokes has been a home-based early educator and a cornerstone of her community for over 35 years. Her daughter Josiane has worked side by side with her since 2013. Nearly all of the children they care for come from low-income families of color, so it’s never been easy to make ends meet. But when COVID hit, they truly worried that their business would not survive.  

Margie says, “Some of the parents lost their jobs, others were homeless.” Josiane says, “Parents were extremely afraid; they didn’t know if their children would be safe in a child care environment.”  

But just as we have for thousands of early educators for over 45 years, Children’s Council was there to ensure that Margie and Josiane could not only keep their child care business open and operating safely, but ensure that it would continue to serve generations of children in the future.  

Less than three weeks into the pandemic, Children’s Council launched virtual health and safety trainings, allowing hundreds of child care providers like Margie and Josiane learn how to re-open and operate their businesses safely. Over the past 18 months, we’ve continually partnered with the CDC and the Department of Public Health to keep our early educator community abreast of the latest guidelines.  

We’ve also sourced and distributed 15 tons of personal protection equipment and over 10,000 gallons of disinfectant through our weekly “self-serve” station on site at Children’s Council.  

Just as importantly, throughout the pandemic, Children’s Council has been vigilant in connecting our city’s early educators with critically needed grants and loans to offset financial losses from lower enrollment and to cover the increased costs of caring for children during COVID.  

Josiane says, “Some of these grants, I would never have known about, or thought we wouldn’t qualify for, and they said ‘Yes, you do qualify!’ Children’s Council cared so much for us. They checked on us all the time. They always made sure we had what we needed.” 

For the past 1 ½ years, our city has seen firsthand what we’ve been saying for decades: without child care, San Francisco doesn’t work.  

At the beginning of pandemic, many experts feared that 50% of our child care businesses might never reopen. Because of the tireless work by Children’s Council, less than 5% of San Francisco early education programs have closed due to COVID.  

But our city’s child care infrastructure is still extremely fragile, and we know that thousands of parents – particularly women in communities of color – have been unable to rejoin the workforce because they lack affordable child care options.  

Today, even if you don’t have children yourself, think about all the things you did that were made possible because someone had child care. From grocery stores to office buildings, from bus drivers to business owners, now more than ever, child care makes our lives possible. But we need your help!  

With your support, as we cautiously turn the page on the pandemic, we can focus on ensuring that our city’s child care businesses are more resilient moving forward. We’re committed to imparting knowledge, training and coaching that will help educators like Margie and Josiane refine their financial acumen, policies and technological skills to run strong businesses that support children and families for many years to come. 

Won’t you consider making a gift to Children’s Council today? Your donation, no matter how large or small, will make life possible for everyone in San Francisco.  

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