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 

Take Action for Children!

Right now there are three pieces of legislation that have the power to positively impact the lives of children, families, and child care professionals. BANANAS is part of the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, a system of nonprofit agencies that serves every region in the state with important child care and parenting resources. As part of this network, we encourage you to take action today by sending three letters of support to government officials who can make sure that California’s Education Code is up to date (SB 1154), that low-income families have access to a year of child care (AB 2150), and that parents are informed about background checks and safety measures when hiring a caregiver (AB 2036).

Below you will find details of each bill and information on how to take action today.

SB 1154 – The Patricia Siegel Child Care Resource and Referral Memorial Act of 2016 This update will preserve quality consumer education and provider support in California and at the same time will identify components of the recently reauthorized federal CCDBG Act where the state already complies.

To learn more, click this Fact Sheet and then send your letter of support using this Sample Letter.

AB 2150 – The Child Care Continuity Act: 12 Month Eligibility That Supports Families AB 2150 is an extraordinary opportunity to remove unjust and unjustified, red-tape reporting rules that cause eligible families to churn in and out of child care programs; put their jobs at risk; disrupt children’s school readiness and development; force them to turn down job promotions, make it impossible for child care providers to balance ledgers or plan for quality investments while accepting subsidized children; and burden employers and education providers who are required to sign off on endless paperwork.

If you would like to send a letter of support, view this Sample Letter.

AB 2036 – Online Care Job Postings: Consumer Education This bill would require online companies that advertise child care services provided by license-exempt child care providers (ex. babysitters and nannies) to post a statement about the California Trustline registry and, if the service provides access to a background check, a written description of the background check provided to it by the background check service provider.

Here is a Sample Letter as well as a Fact Sheet if you would like to learn more.

Thank you for your support!

BANANews: Week in Review and Fun Things to Do

Hooray for Friday! It’s certainly been a busy week here at BANANAS, so before we venture off into the weekend, we are revisiting everything we did and what we can look forward to in our community in the next couple of days. Be sure to read on for all the details.


We’re getting ready to celebrate the men who help raise our wonderful children—whether the guys are uncles, grandpas, brothers, or great friends—with creative ideas that we compiled on our Pinterest board: Father’s Day Is on the Way!  You’ll find simple gifts such as Homemade BBQ Sauce and Paper Cup Trophies that kids will love to put together as well as lots of other clever crafts to show love and appreciation. This week the Joint Legislative Budget Committee met to discuss how California will allocate its money and to negotiate how much funding will go to child care. We hope for a strong stand from Governor Brown as the committee continues deliberations. Fingers crossed that they see the importance of investing in kids!


If you’ve got a new baby and you’re headed back to work, we’re here to offer support on Choosing Infant Care. Sign up today for this free workshop on Thursday, June 11th, to learn about all the available options and gain guidance on finding the right child care fit for your family. On Thursday, June 18th, we’re holding a special Teen CPR & First Aid Training where kids ages 13 to 17 will learn life-saving techniques and receive a certificate of completion. RSVP today to reserve your spot! Child care providers, get ready for an amazing resource fair on Thursday, July 9th, at the next Directors’ Roundtable. We’ll be teaming up with leading community partners such as First 5 to offer an informative event about all the current trends in the child care field.


What is there to do this weekend? How about bringing the kids to the Bay Area Book Festival on Saturday, June 6th, and Sunday, June 7th? Don’t miss this chance to meet renowned children’s author Judy Blume! But before you get there (and after a healthy lunch), consider making a stop at CREAM in Rockridge for their grand opening and get a FREE ice cream sandwich. Also on Saturday is the Rockin’ Kids Singalong at La Pena Cultural Center, which is a free drop-in musical playgroup happening at 12 o’clock.

We’ll be bringing you a whole new roundup of free family fun next Friday, but until then, stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter (for updates on the budget!), Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

BANANews: Week in Review and Fun Things to Do!

April is in full swing and there are so many family-fabulous workshops and events happening at BANANAS and in our community. Here’s the roundup:


April 12th through 18th marks the Week of the Young Child, so we joined in celebrating the wonder of early childhood with some new springtime build-together activities on our Crafty Kids Ideas Pinterest board, such as Paper Roll Butterflies and Ladybug Rocks. In the spirit of childhood joy, we talked all about toys in this week’s edition of BANANA Bites and offered some tips for which items are the best fit for different age groups. Be sure to check back next week for another parenting and early learning column where we answer YOUR questions! If you have something you’d like us to cover, email elyce@bananasbunch.org. And, if you didn’t read our April Newsletter, be sure to see all the free resources for parents and child care providers!


We’re gearing up for the first of six FREE workshops in Booties Camp! Sign up today for Baby Language & Brain Development on Wednesday, April 22nd (bring your baby!), and on Thursday, April 23rd, we’re holding a great parenting workshop on Living with Ones and Twos (limited child care is provided for this workshop; call 510-658-7353 to reserve your spot).


To celebrate the Week of the Young Child, this Saturday, April 18th, families are invited to Early Childhood Family Fun and Learning Day with exciting workshops and activities from Raising a Reader, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Oakland Parks and Recreation, and the Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network. Sunday, April 19th, kicks off a free Foster Family Fun Day at Habitot Children’s Museum. Come and make your own work of art! For child care providers, there is an Education for Change Info Session and Hiring Event on Friday, April 24th, where teachers can network and speak with prospective employers. And on Saturday, April 25th, Family Support Services of the Bay Area is holding a FREE Kinship Caregivers Conference for families to share the challenges and rewards of raising kin youth. Children are welcome to attend this event that includes lunch, raffle prizes, and educational workshops.

Have a great weekend, and remember to stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn!

BANANews: Week in Review and a Few Things That Are New

Welcome to the last few hours before your weekend! For today’s BANANews we’re not only offering a recap of this week’s exciting events and highlights of some upcoming workshops, but also a couple of family-friendly events taking place this Saturday in Oakland and SF.

First, though, if you missed our latest Pinterest board, Earth Day for Little Ones, you can check it out and get early inspiration for celebrating this special event with little ones on April 22. In our BANANA Bites parenting and early learning column this week, we answered a local mom’s question: What is transitional kindergarten? You will find more details about TKs by clicking here. If you have a question about child care, early education, or parenting, send an email to elyce@bananasinc.org and you could be featured in our next edition!

Looking ahead to next week, we are gearing up for our Fathers Support Group where dads will come together to talk about the challenges and successes of parenting. If you know a dad who could benefit from this free three-week series, please share the info! For providers, we have a great workshop on Increasing Parent Engagement & Strengthening Parent-Provider Relationships (April 4 and 11) as well as a unique Directors’ Roundtable event (April 9) for center directors. Don’t forget to check out our complete calendar of no-cost community workshops!

And if you are looking for some weekend activities to do with the kiddos, here are a couple of goings-on in the Bay:

City Lights Books is debuting their first-ever children’s book, RAD American Women A-Z, at a release party on Saturday at 12:30 where Raising a Reader San Francisco and Alameda Counties will be a sponsor!

The Oakland Zoo is featuring Feast for the Beasts and an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, starting at 9am.

Come back next week to stay up to date on all the BANANews! Until then, we’ll see you online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram!




Rainy Day Fund

From Executive Director Rich Winefield:

Last month California voters passed Proposition 2, the Rainy Day Fund, by a wide margin. Governor Brown’s initiative represents sound fiscal policy, safeguarding the financial future of our state and improving our credit rating. I voted for Prop 2, but…

Many Californians still suffer from budget cuts made during the recession. Every day at BANANAS we see single mothers in poverty who can’t support their families because they can’t afford child care. Statewide, well over 200,000 poor children below the age of five have lost their child care due to budget cuts, representing many thousands of parents who thus cannot work or who are forced into part-time or split-shift employment. These families face a bleak future. For them, today is that rainy day.

Child care support would not only be good for poor families, it would boost economic development in our state by enabling thousands of people to go to work. Let’s save for an uncertain future, but let’s also provide our fellow Californians with some shelter from the rain they are experiencing today.


Photo by Philip Brewer