Cheri, Founder/Director
cell: (805) 708-HOPE
work: (805) 682-2300
Email: director@h4kelc.org
 
About Me
I was born and raised in California. I grew up in Orange County until moving to Santa Barbara in 1988 to live with my mother and grandparents, whose health was failing. I have worked hard my whole life starting with a paper route at age 12. I grew up in a family of teachers and doctors so health and education are in my DNA. I married my husband, Juan, in 1994. My favorite pastimes are spending time with my family, walking our dog, exploring nature trails, walking on the beach, visiting Yosemite, riding my cruiser, and anything and everything to do with Disneyland! I love singing and playing music, caring for and loving animals, and best of all I love watching a child "get it." There's nothing more remarkable than witnessing the transformation of wonder turned into discovery on the face of a child. That's the moment they've just learned something significant about the world around them. I also have a passion for mentoring adults. I feel such joy when a teacher completes another course, earns a new degree, or achieves a Specialist Level in the Outdoor Classroom training program.
 
Early Childhood Experience
I am very passionate about quality care for children as well as working with adults in the early childhood field who desire to make a difference in their professional endeavors as well as provide quality care and education to children and families. It is my extreme pleasure to have founded, built, and now serve as Director of Hope 4 Kids Early Learning Center in Santa Barbara. I have worked with children for over 30 years through many wonderful programs for children, particularly those caring for underserved families. From 2001 to 2005, I served as the Program Coordinator for 150 Santa Barbara County children through Angel Tree, a program for children whose parents are in prison. From 2001 to 2013, I served as the Child Placement Coordinator for Royal Family Kid's Camp, free week-long, residential camp for foster children. From 2006 to 2009, I served as the President of the Santa Barbara County Foster Parent Association.
 
Education
I graduated with honors as a Certified Early Childhood Education (ECE) Teacher and earned an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education from Santa Barbara City College, with an emphasis in Communication. I graduated summa cum laude and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies at Cal State University, Channel Islands. By August of 2017, I will earn a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. I am also a Certified Online Instructor and look forward to working with ECE teachers in local and state-wide community colleges. In addition to formal education, I have attended conferences, workshops, and various training opportunities since 1990 learning about topics in management, leadership, supervision, foster parenting, early childhood education, child advocacy, outdoor classroom, human resources, and health and safety.
 
Service
I have been honored to serve on the Four Pillars Mortar Board, a premier national honor society recognizing superior achievement in scholarship, leadership and service. I am a Certified Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Prek observer, a program that assesses teacher interaction with children. I am a Level III Certified Outdoor Classroom Project (OCP) Specialist and serve as the Events Chair on the Outdoor Classroom Demonstration Site Network Steering Committee for Santa Barbara County. This provides me with opportunities to network with my colleagues, serve as a consultant for other programs seeking to receive Outdoor Classroom Project recognition, services, and support, and serve our community's children by touring our program to those interested in implementing the OCP practices and philosophy in their own centers.
 
My husband, Juan, and I have been foster parents since 2002. Since that time, we have had the privilege of taking twenty-seven foster child placements into our home and have adopted four fabulous children. It has been my pleasure and honor to mentor and serve foster parents in our community. In 2006, the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services, Child Welfare Division awarded our efforts as foster parents with a community service plaque during the annual convention. In 2004, the Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara surprised me with the award, "Layperson of the Year" for my volunteer work with underprivileged children and families in our community.
 
Membership
I am a "continual learner" and take every opportunity to keep myself informed of changes and new developments in quality education for young children. Since 2009, I have been an active participant on the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Consortium (former Quality Counts). In the past I have been an active member and participant of the California Association for School Transportation Officials (CASTO). I have also held membership at local and national Toastmasters Clubs. I am a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Pacific Coast AEYC, and the California AEYC. I also serve on various committees in our community including the ECE Leadership Action Committee.

At Hope 4 Kids
I believe God designed us all with distinctive talents, abilities, skills, gifts, and strengths. He has called me to be a creative innovator and to the work of loving and caring for children in unique and special ways. It is my phenomenal privilege to use those gifts here at Hope Community Church and Hope 4 Kids Early Learning Center! I always welcome and encourage families to contact me with any questions or ideas whether enrolled or considering enrollment! Please feel free to call me at 805.682.2300 or email me at director@h4kelc.org to learn more about Hope 4 Kids or simply chat about your family. I look forward to talking with you!