First 5 Monterey County
Child care provider Rebekah plays with children on a slide.

Like many families, Rebekah was faced with a tough decision when her children were young—stay home or return to work. Needing income yet unable to afford child care, she started caring for her niece and nephew to supplement her family’s bottom line. It was during this time that she found her calling: caring for young children. Rebekah decided to follow her passion and turn it into a business; she started by enrolling in classes at Monterey Peninsula College. While there, she connected with Amber, an early education counselor with First 5 Monterey’s Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards program. Amber helped Rebekah create a long-term professional plan.

“We all work together to really provide structure and a foundation for the children…the next generation.”

“Amber showed me the general direction in which I should go, so that I wasn’t misled or misdirected in getting to my goal as quickly as possible,” Rebekah says. Rebekah sees her education as a gateway to improving her skills and approach as a child care provider. “I could give more to the children I was working with, more to the parents who were asking questions,” she says. By focusing on professional practices, she says, she increased her understanding of how important families and communities are to raising healthy, happy children.