My Little College
"In my country, I wanted to become a preschool teacher," Sandra explained, "but to get the required training was difficult and expensive. My parents couldn't give me the education that I wanted." So, Sandra left Mexico for the United States, which she saw a "a country of opportunity."
Sandra held onto her dream of becoming a child care educator for a long time, but, she said, "I couldn't do it. For almost 13 years, I had to work in the fields, in Mexican shops, as a cleaner, whatever I had to do to get by." She continued, "Then, in 2014, I had the opportunity to fix my legal situation. I had to return to Mexico; it took me eight months to fix my documents, and, by the grace of God, I returned to the U.S. legally."
Back in the U.S., it was difficult for Sandra to work and take care of her children--one has autism, another ADHD--along with her husband, and the house. So, she made the decision to continue her education ... even without her husband's support. "I wanted to do something better for the future of my children."
Once Sandra started studying child development, she said, "the more I learned the easier it became for me." Much of what she was learning also helped her with her own children. She felt her life was changed. In 2022, Sandra graduated with honors from Modesto Junior College with her Child Development Assistant Permit, and within a few months had a part-time job in a child care center. "I saw that I had what I had wanted for more than 20 years."
Her journey, however, did not end there. Sandra learned about Nurture from a friend she met through the Resource & Referral agency. "I learned that I could put a daycare in my home and own my own business." And while she was content working as an assistant teacher, she wanted to teach in her own way; she wanted her own classroom.
Sandra draws a sharp distinction between the other general classes she has taken and what she experienced with Nurture. She said, "the information was deeper and more comprehensive." One thing she gained through Nurture is the confidence to charge what she is worth. "If another provider charges a different amount, it might be because they don't have the education I have."
She is excited to start. She said, "This is going to be a family business. I am going to be at home, not feeling like I am neglecting my children because I am working elsewhere." Sandra's children "are happy that they are going to help me in the afternoon when they arrive from school." Even her husband, who was initially skeptical, pitched in to get ready for the pre-licensing site visit.
Reflecting on how she and her compañeras collectively feel about the prospect of enrolling their first child, she said, "We all have some apprehension, but we feel prepared, thanks to Nurture."