Over the past 3 decades I have had the opportunity to use the many services provided by BANANAS, first as a client and more recently as a high school teacher and preschool program director. In 1978 I moved to the bay area, a single mother – no family or support system, job or source of income – with only the confidence and determination to create a better life for my son and myself. My first task was to find child care for my son and I was fortunate to meet a woman who told me about an agency that provided services for woman and children including free referrals of child care programs. After talking with the woman at BANANAS, I left with a list of child care programs and camps to contact and the feeling I was no longer alone. My story is not unique. It has been retold many times and in many different languages and even if the circumstances vary, clients like myself come to this non-profit for services that assist woman and families and leave with answers to their questions and a relief that life just became a little easier.
As I pursued my career and made a life for my son and myself, BANANAS grew in size and reputation, expanded their services and increased their staff and clientele. In 1998, I was hired to teach child development classes – an elective course designed for high school students to investigate careers working with children. Students receive instruction in class and then apply their knowledge by working with children in our onsite preschool. Twenty years had passed since my first experience with BANANAS but when I walked inside their new location, not only did I feel the same warm reception but to my surprise I recognized several women who remembered me. And just like before, I talked about my need for resources that would supplement my textbooks and walked away with shopping bags full of informational brochures and handouts, relating to the content areas listed in my course outline as well as local publications and names of other nonprofit agencies dealing with a myriad of issues bay area families face every day as they attempt to keep their children safe and healthy. Resources including a Lending Video Library, workshops, classes, school presentations are just a few examples of ways BANANAS has enriched my curriculum. BANANAS provide a context for my students to gain an understanding of the lessons they learn in class.
In my review of BANANAS, I have described some of the services they offer as a resource and referral agency for Northern Alameda County especially those which have made a difference for me as a woman, a mother and a teacher. Recently I have seen BANANAS in what I consider their most important role, as advocates for quality child care programs. After serving the community for 30 years, administrative decisions threatened to close our preschool. When news of the potential elimination of our preschool program reached BANANAS, they were the first ones to stand up in support of our preschool. The Executive Director came to every meeting closure of the preschool was on the agenda, helped us strategize, work together and organize community support. At a time when BANANAS was dealing with massive budget cuts impacting preschools through out the state, I was surprised and thankful for the attention our preschool received. And when I expressed my appreciation, I heard the humble response “this is what we do!” Thank you, BANANAS, for doing it so well!
This is a wonderful organization that provides child care support for many low income working class families who would not otherwise be able to afford childcare services for their children.
The BANANAS Child Care Resource and Referral agency is committed - absolutely! - to children and families. People ask for all kinds of help, and they are answered with compassion, openness, knowledge and friendliness. BANANAS interprets its mission very broadly, and offers all kinds of services for all kinds of families. Information is given on any topic relating to children. Advocacy is provided when needed. Families can count on BANANAS!
Bananas has been of incredible assistance to our school, and because of them, we have been able to add to the quality of our care (workshops and First Aid/CPR reimbursement), assist our stability (referrals to parents) and for quite some time, gave us an avenue to find good staff (staff reference information). As an administrator, I have been able to be more savvy and therefore compliant with licensing issues, and have been able to provide my parents who are new or at risk, to have support and strategies for success through workshops and referrals.
Bananas, Inc. and its dedicated staff members have been incredibly supportive and provided crucal educational and informational materials for my wife and I regarding our now two year old son. This assistance has helped us through the challenging and uncertain growth stages for our child and helped us provide the appropriate care and support for our son. Bananas and its staff has also helped us with my family medical leave act questions and issues and provided critical advice regarding child care and child care providers.
Fantastic! I have a 20 month old and have been searching for a book that is even 1/2 as good as the Bananas handouts. I have also talked to staff members in a time of need who were comforting and helpful. I feel very lucky to have Bananas as a resource!
Bananas is a life saver:
When I need help for a clients, I refer them to Bananas with confidence.
When I need to enhance the information I want to share with a client, I go
to the Bananas' rich resource of materials and information.
When I need help for my matriculating staff members, I send them to Bananas.
When a parent can't afford my services, and I can't afford to help her, I send her to Bananas.
When I want to keep abreast of the child care news and the licensing regulations, I go to Bananas. Let's face it, sometimes it is great to go Bananas! Dr. D. L. Mante
BANANAS is tremendously helpful to families but also to child care providers. They have been hosting Directors' Roundtable that are priceless and free for our field.
Bananas helped us set up two wonderful shared daycare situations. We used Bananas to obtain referrals to contact for the other parents and for the caregivers themselves. The Bananas was very helpful in guiding us through the process of what to look for in a caregiver and how to do the contract for employment, etc. This was 16 & 19 years ago as our children are not grow, but we have been dedicated supporters since. Thanks Bananas!!!!!! Keep up the good work. Ann Casper
When I was seeking child care for my baby daughter with disabilities, Bananas was a god-send, helping me understand and sort out what I needed to know to select good quality care. Later, when I wanted to work to improve child care as a volunteer advocate, Bananas provided encouragement, direct support, and advocacy tools so that I could be successful. I was so inspired by the staff and the programs at Bananas that I joined the Board of Directors. After more than 20 year, I support Bananas and thework they do whole-heartedly. This is a socially responsive and responsible organization....creative and outside the box thinking grounded in a clear understanding of community needs and social values.