BANANAS Honors New Board Member Nancy Harvey for Women’s History Month!

March is Women’s History Month, which serves as a helpful reminder to highlight the contributions of the women in our lives. This month, we are honoring a woman who is a child care provider, child care advocate, a proud member of SEIU Local 521, and a new Board Member at BANANAS — Nancy Harvey.

Nurture, care, and educate is the philosophy behind Nancy’s mission whether she is serving children in her family day care, Lil Nancy’s Primary Schoolhouse in West Oakland, supporting parents in raising their children, or advocating for other child care providers. As a former grammar school teacher, Harvey witnessed first-hand how crucial early care and education is for our littlest learners.

A hallmark of Harvey’s care is the low staff-to-child ratio that ensures children in her care have the necessary adult-child interactions that promote quality learning opportunities and prevent education gaps from developing. She has leveraged educational resources in the community to better serve the children she cares for, from the local public library to Oakland Parks and Recreation opportunities.

Children are never too young to learn. I love my work and have never doubted that my calling is to educate children in their earliest years”, says Harvey.

Harvey comes from a family of activists. Her passion is to advocate for child care providers, fight for better wages and overall respect for the profession, and push policymakers to fix California’s inequitable child care system. In November 2017, Harvey boldly spoke before the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education about how collective bargaining is also about professionalizing the industry, creating career ladders for providers to move-up to better-paying positions, reducing high turnover, and ensuring that tax dollars are spent on the families and children who need early care and education the most.

In 2018, Harvey was heavily involved in Ballot Measure A, Alameda County’s Child Care and Early Education Initiative, and also supported Measure AA, the City of Oakland’s initiative. While, Measure A proposed raising the sales tax in Alameda County to support early childhood education, Measure AA, the Oakland Children’s Initiative, proposed expanding access to quality, affordable preschool for every child from a low-income background in Oakland. The measures did not pass, but Nancy and her team of advocates feel hopeful for the future. Most recently, Harvey has been working with state lawmakers to get the new bill AB 378 through the legislature. She is confident that the bill if passed, will push for higher quality early child care access and the opportunity for child care providers to form unions.

We owe it to the next generation to make a change, or else we won’t have a quality child care industry that affects every family, workplace, and the local and state economies”, says Harvey.

Harvey feels that by being on the Board for BANANAS, she can better represent child care providers and make their voices heard. She loves BANANAS’ wide array of programs and is extremely fond of parent and provider workshops. Her favorite is the SEIU On-The-Job Training Project classes. In her free time, Harvey goes out for nature walks, indulges in interior design showcases, and spends time with her three children.

Please join us in welcoming Nancy Harvey as our new Board Member!

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Children

Educate our youngest learners about the many accomplishments of women and involve them in celebrating Women’s History Month. Here’s how:

  • Read books to your children about great women who made big contributions to the world
  • Plan a trip to a local museum and learn about various events about Women’s History Month
  • Take your children to a local women’s organization to learn about what they do for the community and possibly volunteer
  • Every family has their own amazing women worth celebrating! Plan a breakfast with your child and the special woman in your family (mother, grandma, aunts, cousins) and have your children listen to her stories

Putting Our Words in Action

Inti with his Children

We’re highlighting just a few of the thousands of families whose lives have been impacted by BANANAS. This year, we put Our Words in Action to support the most vulnerable families and young children.

Meet our client Sharon:

Sharon, a single mother, recently transitioned to traditional housing in Oakland. She came to BANANAS because she needed to go to school and find work to support her two children, Ziya and Ken, who are two and five years old.

“I didn’t even realize we qualified for subsidized child care. BANANAS has made a monumental difference in our lives. Having my children in a trusted environment, I know they are happy and their needs are being met. This has really allowed me to focus on my school.”

Sharon found a job at a retail store in Oakland. “Here I am loving myself again, and I’ve got a new life to care for. I feel like I’ve got a second chance.”

Meet our client Kiera:

Before coming to BANANAS in August 2017, Kiera was taking care of her 3-year-old granddaughter Denae on her own. Born from a mother who has an addiction, Denae went through many health problems at birth. It was then when Kiera stepped in and started taking care of her granddaughter.

Soon after Kiera received the guardianship custody of her granddaughter, she decided to get back into the workforce. When she didn’t think she could afford the care that would prepare Denae for kindergarten, she turned to BANANAS for help.

With the help of BANANAS, her granddaughter began to receive full-time child care services in a family child care while Kiera could focus on her new job. “My life changed for good because of BANANAS.” Kiera feels optimistic about her granddaughter’s future.

Inti with his Children

Meet our client Inti:

Inti Fernandez aspires to be a good father, a superhero to his two children. In addition to raising his kids alone, Inti is pursuing his dream job of becoming a visual designer. For a long time he struggled to find an affordable child care program for his children. He needed child care in order to go to work, support his family, and attend court hearings to secure custody of his kids. Being a single father was tough and he had to take more than one job to make ends meet. “I made some money, but not enough to pay for my family’s basic needs. I worked very hard to keep a smile on my children’s faces,” says Inti.

Thankfully, Inti’s friend introduced him to BANANAS services. Michelle, our counselor, helped Inti by enrolling his children in one of our Alternative Payment Programs through which they received full-time child care services. While his kids continue to thrive in a safe and loving environment, Inti now focuses on growing professionally at his job.

Meet our client Eva:

Eva, a single mother who has an addiction to drugs came to BANANAS in 2016 looking for child care for her two kids, ages two and three years old. Eva desperately needed care for her two children so she could focus on her recovery at a drug rehab program in Oakland.

She enrolled in a subsidy program here at BANANAS, and both of her children received full-time child care services. She took parenting classes at BANANAS and visited the Boutique for her immediate needs, such as diapers, formula, and clothing. “I am fortunate that despite my background, my children can grow in a warm and loving environment in a family child care center in Oakland.”

We need your help!

Each year at BANANAS, we help thousands of families like these by connecting them to quality, affordable child care. Through the Our Words in Action campaign, we are combatting the effects of poverty for young children where they live, learn, and play.

During this season of generosity, your gift to BANANAS is extremely important because it will offer immediate services to children and their caregivers. Invest in us and we will continue to put Our Words in Action.

Donate Today 

Support Our ‘Words in Action Campaign’ on Giving Tuesday

As we prepare for Thanksgiving this week, the BANANAS Bunch is reflecting on this year and counting the many exciting opportunities we are grateful for. We have come to realize that our words have power. During the last year, we asked you to Invest in Kids. And, with your support, we could positively impact so many families by helping prepare their children to be Ready for School, Ready for Life!

For the past 12 months, BANANAS has worked hard to best serve and engage family, friends, and neighbors (FFN) caregivers, connecting caregivers to resources, such as workshops, playgroups, FFN Caregiver Toolkit, and so much more. Additionally, this year we are supporting homeless and foster families in finding child care.

While we are partnering with families, we are also working tirelessly to support our children. We advocated for Measure AA – Oakland Children’s Initiative that will help alleviate poverty by providing Oakland children with affordable and quality preschool and college. Unfortunately, Measure AA did not pass, but we’re not done yet! We will continue to work hard for our children, families, and community, but, not without YOUR SUPPORT!

This Giving Tuesday on November 27, we want you to support Our Words in Action campaign so that every child has access to high quality and affordable early care and education, and every parent and caregiver understands the importance of early learning, child development, and kindergarten readiness. We do this because we believe in raising happy, confident children.

Here are 5 ways you can support us:
1. Give to BANANAS through our Facebook Fundraiser
2. Make a donation to us on our website. We appreciate any amount
3. Shop online at our Boutique. Buy custom swag like cute babywear, warm winter hoodies, shopping bags, classic trucker hats, personalized mugs, and more
4. Purchase all your holiday gifts through Smile.Amazon.com by choosing BANANAS for all your purchases. We receive a percentage of the profits from every item sold
5. Share this blog with your family and friends

Help us raise $5,000 to help our community grow, explore, and learn!

On #GivingTuesday, look out for emails from us and keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for up-to-the-minute information, including matching gift opportunities that will double the impact of your support!

Your donation makes a difference!