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Blog | | Early Edge California, Leading from Home

Early Edge Convenes Seventh Community of Practice of the California Leading From Home Program

In February, Early Edge California brought together the seventh Community of Practice (CoP) of the California Leading from Home (LFH) Program, which seeks to support Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) caregivers in developing their advocacy skills and help them establish grassroots support networks within their communities. These monthly CoP gatherings aim to foster mutual learning and collaboration, empowering these caregivers to elevate their voices and needs within their local communities and across the state. The purpose of LFH is to invest in and empower FFN caregivers, enabling them to inform policymakers about the importance of FFN child care and what is needed to support them in their caregiving. The cohort members also receive a monthly stipend for their participation and commitment to the program.

The seventh CoP meeting occurred on February 21, 2024, and featured guest speaker Zonia Sanchez, an experienced FFN caregiver and advocate who sits at the bargaining table for California’s union of child care providers, Child Care Providers United (CCPU), and has previously been interviewed by the Washington Post. Zonia’s presentation provided the cohort members with a special opportunity to hear first-hand from an experienced caregiver advocate, learn more about the need to advocate and uplift their work as FFN caregivers, and how to do so successfully. 

The February CoP meeting was another step in laying down a foundation for the FFN caregivers to participate in an in-person advocacy day that has being planned as part of the culmination of their participation in the program. Zonia conveyed the need for FFN caregivers to intentionally engage in networking and leadership opportunities alongside other caregivers. She expressed that a collective voice has more influence in accessing resources and pushing for policies that help them and the children and families they serve. 

LFH cohort members had a robust discussion with Zonia following her presentation. The cohort left the meeting feeling encouraged to learn more on how to become better advocates for themselves, equipped with Zonia’s personal success stories and her examples of ongoing barriers and possible solutions for the field. 

Early Edge is enthusiastic about the participation of ten passionate and seasoned FFN providers in our initiative to gain profound insights into the unique needs and barriers faced by FFN providers and ultimately amplify their voices throughout California. For further details about this program, please visit the California Leading From Home webpage on the Early Edge website.

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