Perla’s Story Part 2: A New Opportunity

This is part 2 of a 3-part story following Perla’s experience with Peninsula Family Service. Missed the first part? Read Part 1.

Now that Perla had secured full-time child care for her twins at one of nine Peninsula Family Service Child Development Centers, she had to figure out a solution for transportation. Perla lived in southern San Mateo County and had to drive her children to downtown San Mateo, which is no quick drive during rush hour traffic.

“The amount of time on the road wasn’t the problem, it was the cost of the gas. I couldn’t afford to drive there and back twice a day.”

Perla thought about her family goals, becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), and making sure her daughters were cared for. Then she discovered a win-win solution,

“Passing the LVN exam was my job. Getting my children to preschool was my job. So I kept a daily routine: 7am drive to San Mateo to drop off the kids. 9am arrive at the San Mateo Public Library. Study until noon, then take a break for lunch. Study some more until 3pm, then pick up the girls and drive home. Every day, that was my routine.”

Perla also enjoyed volunteering in the twins’ classroom each morning and afternoon. She got to know her daughters’ teachers, Irene and Ana, very well. Being involved in the twins’ class was very important to Perla. This was their first time away from home, and the transition was difficult at first.

“They cried the first few weeks I dropped them off. They had never gone more than a few hours without me, even when my mother watched them. I wanted to stay and help in the classroom so they would feel better. It helped me feel better too, because I saw how much the teachers cared and how much fun they had.”

Perla attended all of the monthly parent education meetings, social events, and other wraparound services offered by Peninsula Family Service. At one meeting, the staff asked for a volunteer to serve as the Parent Policy Council President. No one else volunteered to do it, so Perla raised her hand.

“I wasn’t really sure what the Parent Policy Council did, but it seemed like a good way to be more involved in my girls’ school and a way to get to know the other parents better.”

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Perla is one of 12,000 individuals Peninsula Family Service works with to open doors of opportunity and change lives for the better. This is the second part in a series of blogs focused on how our wraparound services directly impact our families and program participants through our support and resource tools that help to build financial stability, and to realize the potential of living healthy and stable lives.

Our Early Learning Center in downtown San Mateo is one of nine centers in San Mateo County which provide child care services for children age 0-5. Families also receive supportive services for occupational speech and behavioral/mental health therapies, as well as connections to food, housing, and other essential needs. These services are funded by community members who give generously to ensure every parent, and every child has the resources they need to thrive.

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