Gma Village Offers New Child Care Options!

The Gma Village team.

BANANAS is so excited to announce that we have wonderful new friends in our building! Not only is the team from Gma Village great to have around, they also do spectacular work in the community. We know that finding and paying for child care is a challenge for many families. It can be such a struggle that some parents have to choose between going to work or being home to raise their kids. Luckily, Gma Village has new child care options that benefit everyone!

This pilot service connects local grandmothers with families looking for child care. Founders Johnna Flood, Catalina Garcia, and Maggie Ollove met while doing research for T-Lab at Tipping Point seeking ways to combat poverty. The three came together to focus on the issue of child care and soon began holding workshops in West Oakland to hear how parents were managing their child care needs. The team learned that many low-income parents struggled to find child care during non-traditional hours such as evenings and weekends when most centers and daycares are closed. They also learned that the high cost of care was an obstacle for parents who were struggling to afford basic necessities such as rent and food.

During their outreach in the community, Johnna, Catalina, and Maggie also discovered that the families who were able to find consistent, reliable care were mostly relying on the same family member: Grandma. This inspired them to talk with Oakland grandmothers to hear their perspectives. It turned out that while some grandmothers were feeling a bit overtaxed, many others actively wanted opportunities to connect with the community and felt a desire and ability to provide care for other children. As a result, the Gma Village was created. 

To become caregivers within the Gma Village, grandmothers will attend an orientation and trainings, including a workshop on health and safety. Parents will then connect with these grandmothers with the help of Gma Village and their portfolio of providers. It’s a win-win! 

“This will have an impact on three different generations,” said Maggie. “Parents will have child care so they can work or go to school or just have a reprieve. Grandmas will gain more recognition, more appreciation as well as supplemental income, and kids will have safe, loving care.”

We are thrilled that this concept is now being piloted and are so glad there are new child care options for the community. To learn more about the Gma Village, contact the team at thegmavillage@gmail.com or 510-545-9057.

 

BANANAS Offers Child Care Referrals at Room to Bloom!

Great news! BANANAS now offers free child care referrals onsite at Room to Bloom! We are so thrilled to be partnering with this amazing family resource center to bring more services to parents. Held at the Room to Bloom office at Castlemont High School in Oakland, these free, one-on-one referrals will be available every 3rd Wednesday of the month.

Parents will receive one-on-one counseling about referrals and subsidized child care, including what types of assistance are available for families. Referral counselors will also provide information about the parent education program at BANANAS, which includes free support groups and workshops on everything from baby basics to positive parenting to choosing the right child care fit. Says BANANAS Resource & Referral Manager Heather Lang, “We have been working to make this happen for a long time and I am so excited it’s now a reality. I think this is going to be a great new community service.”

For more information, contact Heather Lang at BANANAS (heather@bananasbunch.org, 510-658-7353 x131 ) or Marcie Meadows at Room to Bloom (marciemeadows@gmail.com, 510-545-9470). Pictured above is Room to Bloom Coordinator/Family Advocate Carla Jasso (left), BANANAS R&R Manager Heather Lang (center), and Room to Bloom Site Director Marcie Meadows (right).

Child Care Referral Dates

Every 3rd Wednesday from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Room to Bloom is located at 8601 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, 94605