The number of families in need of child care exceeds the number of available child care providers in southern California. In an effort to build the early education workforce, CCRC is partnering with Tierra del Sol to provide students with internship opportunities.
“We currently do this with California State University Northridge, Brandman and Antelope Valley college,” says CCRC Early Care and Learning Director Betty Zamorano-Pedregon. “Tierra del Sol has placed volunteers at CCRC for a number of years, but this will be the first year they place interns.”
The Tierra del Sol Foundation was founded in Sunland, CA in 1971. Originally conceived by parents as an alternative to institutional care, the organization began as an early demonstration of self-advocacy. The belief shared by involved families is that all people have gifts, and our community is richer when all its members are valued for their contributions. The foundation has 630 professional volunteers at 130 non-profit organizations, according to its website.
The agreement comes after a meeting between CCRC President & CEO Dr. Michael Olenick and Tierra del Sol CEO Rebecca Lienhard to grow the existing partnership between the two agencies in a way that benefits both students and the early care and learning workforce.
Through this partnership, students will work as interns in CCRC’s Head Start programs. They will assist with tasks in the classroom which will allow them to learn the functions of a teacher, practice tasks, and learn the processes and culture of CCRC’s early education program.
“This partnership brings additional inclusion into classrooms from adults and gives children the chance to interact with people who have varying abilities,” says Betty. “The experience offers hands on opportunities and practical experience in quality early care and education settings for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the classroom. It also allows CCRC to build the workforce and train interns in best practices of the field and learn CCRC’s culture and processes.”
Tierra del Sol students have supported CCRC as volunteers for the past six years, helping with event preparation by stickering books, labeling items and wrapping gifts for our holiday drive. “We receive beneficial help with tasks and they gain experience, confidence, and often learn new things,” says CCRC Event Specialist Lucy Ford. “We have been working with the same group of them for a number of years and it’s been great to see them grow and get comfortable.”
CCRC has long partnered with local colleges and organizations to support career development and create opportunities to engage with the next generation of the workforce.