Mt. Washington Preschool and Child Care Centers at a glance:
• Three child development centers that are licensed nonprofit preschool and childcare centers serving children ages six weeks to five years old. All centers serve community fee-paying families, in addition to the priority families:
– La Casita Verde is located in Highland Park's historic Ziegler Estate, adjacent to the Southwest Museum Metro station, with a priority to serve low- to moderate-income families.
– Joy Picus Child Development Center is located in City Hall South, and serves City employees and families living and working downtown.
– Harry Pregerson Child Development Center is also located downtown in the Federal building, and principally serves Federal employees, as well as other downtown families.
• Approximately 170 children and 50 staff
• 501(c)(3) charitable organization
• An annual budget of $1.5 Million, with more than 80% of expenses for salaries and benefits
Our goal in MWPCCC is to support families with young children and infants. We prepare children for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning by offering them a developmentally-appropriate curriculum, nurturing staff, and a commitment to children's social well-being in an environment that respects and celebrates diversity. Our target population is an economically and ethnically diverse group of children in Los Angeles. We are committed to serving as many low-income/subsidized children as possible, and in fact, often we have absorbed those costs in order to make sure that we do not turn away families for lack of funds.
Pat Griffith, Board President
Susan Phifer, Secretary/Treasurer
Martha Benedict, Community member
Teresa Bonsell, Community member
Onica Cole, JP Parent Representative
Britany Engelman, HP Parent Represenative
James Eowan, LCV Parent Representative
Maria Howard, Community member
Jim Preis, Community member
Paul Scalo, HP Parent Representative
Lauren Skinner, JP Parent Representative
Darlene Cabrera (323) 222-7114
Darlene Cabrera, La Casita Verde Center
Leslie Casteneda, Harry Pregerson Center,
Tamara Brown, Joy Picus Center,
Much of what we have learned about quality early care and education has been through seeking approval from Head Start and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). For example, to earn NAEYC accreditation, MWPCCC's Pregerson Center and Joy Picus Center went through an extensive Self-Study process that measures our program and services against the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related Accreditation Criteria. In April 2009, Pregerson received accreditation. In August 2013, Joy Picus received it.
While we pay the best wages we currently can to our staff, we recognize the need to do more. One reason our staff are loyal to MWPCCC (40% have been with us for at least 7 years, and several for our whole 17 years in operation) is because we offer them flexibility to meet family obligations. We also help them pursue more education, especially as this is needed for accreditation.
Our Executive Director, Darlene Cabrera, has been with us for 17 years and is a great example of the loyalty we have among our current staff. She mentors our staff and is a living example of career advancement within our centers, since she has risen from Teacher to Executive Director. We believe she has the experience, leadership and wisdom to assist and oversee additional development programs and coordinate efforts with all the staff.
Our ties to the Northeast LA and Downtown communities are very strong. All our centers are now linked by close proximity to the Gold Line, allowing our preschoolers to visit one another via the train (most exciting!). Outings include monthly field trips to the Audubon Center at Debs Park to learn about our natural environment. This is a collaboration that we are thrilled to have developed, as the Audubon Center in Debs Park is able to transfer the knowledge from these natural experiences to our eager learners. We also annually open La Casita Verde to the community with the Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tour, the Highland Park Historic Trust bi-monthly tours, and Big Sunday, the largest regional community service event in the country.
Our parents are our most treasured collaborators, as they work with staff to create enriching events for the whole community. Several examples are the Friday night 'Safari Camp Nights, Café Wednesdays, and really successful parties for all neighborhood families with young children – the summer Pool Party and the Halloween party, the Halloween trick-or-treating in both City Hall and the Federal Roybal Building. Other collaborators in supporting our families are the Pregerson Board, committed volunteers working through the Federal General Services Offce to support the Harry Pregerson Center. And of course, both Judges Harry and son Dean Pregerson have remained great supporters of that center.
Challenges that we have faced this year have involved the ongoing budget issues in California. We know the need for quality early care and education is even greater due to the economy, so we strive to serve as many struggling young families as possible. Many of our families receive support through CalWorks, but the State budget cuts have meant that several families have lost this funding. We also work closely with Federal, State and City employees through our leases and licensing. But budget cuts and furloughs have taken a big cut in State Licensing staff, cutting severely into oversight of child care, and our ability to expand services.
We greatly appreciate the support we have received from the community, both private individuals and supporting organizations. Together, we will continue to provide the kind of early learning experiences that capitalize on children's potential and lay the foundation for their success in school and in life!
Thanks to our many supporters! Without your help, we could not serve our families!
Corporate and Community Partners
Audubon Center at Debs Park
Café de Leche
Senator Gil Cedillo
Children's Book World
City of Los Angeles
Councilmember Ed P. Reyes
Councilmember Jan Perry
Councilmember Jose Huizar
General Services Agency, US Government
Harry Pregerson Center Board
Johnny Rockets - Little Tokyo
Joy Picus Parents Advisory Council
La Casita Verde Parents Association
Los Angeles County Child Care
Mt. Washington Association
Self Realization Fellowship Church
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
State Assemblymember John Perez
State Assemblymember Kevin de Leon
The Awesome Playground
Trader Joe's South Pasadena
Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
Christopher W. Barry
Sylvia and Allen Bergstrom
Dianne L. Bougher
Scott C. Burleigh
Darlene M. Cabrera
Damen and Julia Calamandrei
Dan and Vanessa Rodriguez-Carmona
State Senator Gil Cedillo
Jorge and Karen Corletto
Karen and DuVon Davis
Jad T. Davis
Jack F. Fong
James J. Goodwin
Maria and Brian Howard
Masako C. Kikekawa
Nechelle Wong-Littman and
Walt and Cris Lutz
John Philip Martin
F. M. Olguin
Linda & Samuel Pillsbury
Joseph & Celina Porras
Judge Harry Pregerson
Judge Dean Pregerson
James J. Preis
Hillary Danner and Jason Renfro
James H. Sandino
Robin D. Scherr
Delores B. Shaddock
G. A. Shaeffer
Lauren and Timothy Skinner
Grant & Elizabeth Smith
Alyson J. Sprafkin
Kaprisha and Daniel Vallecillo
Eleana H. Williams