Child Care Keeps California Working and Children Learning

P lease enjoy this summer edition of our Newsletter, featuring Kelly O'Connell as newly elected Chair, the Karen Kaye Awards honoring our Providers and introduction of our new staff for the QSLA Program.

We're also continuing our individual introductions of our partners in our   Meet the Alliance Agencies.  This edition features Crystal Stairs, Inc.

Stay cool!
Cristina Alvarado
Executive Director
CCALA elects a new Chair

Kelly O'Connell , Deputy Executive Director of Options for Learning, was elected as the new Chair of the Board of Directors, Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles (CCALA). Her term began on July 1, 2016.  Kelly has been an integral part of CCALA since its inception, and has served as a CCALA Board member since November 2007, representing Options for Learning .

Outgoing Chair,  Martin Castro President and CEO of MAOF (Mexican American Opportunity Foundation) passes the gavel to Kelly.  At the June CCALA Board meeting, Martin was recognized and presented with a plaque for his dedicated service as Chair for the past 4 years.

The CCALA Board of Directors is comprised of a top-level representative from each of the ten member agencies.

CCALA Board Members present at the 
Karen Kaye Achievement Awards on June 18, 2016
Left to Right:  Paul Pulver (Pathways), Jackie Majors (Crystal Stairs), Patti Oblath (Connections for Children), Cristina Alvarado (Child Care Alliance), Kelly O'Connell (Options for Learning), Christina Acosta (PUSD), Martin Castro (MAOF), Mike Olenick (CCRC), Duane Dennis (former Executive Director of Pathways)

Meet the Alliance Agencies:
Crystal Stairs
Jackie Majors, Chief Executive Officer
C rystal Stairs, Inc is celebrating over 35 years of service this year at their Dancing Under the Star Legacy Gala. In 1980, the agency was founded by Drs. Karen Hill Scott and Alice Walker Duff with the main objective of creating community programs that provide opportunities for families to become self-sufficient, transcending the effects of poverty. Not only serving as CEO and co-founder of Crystal Stairs, Dr. Duff was one of the original architects of what is now the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles. With only four CEOs since its inception, Crystal Stairs boast an impressive legacy of leadership including Senator Holly J. Mitchell who served as CEO before passing the torch to current CEO Jackie B. Majors.

Crystal Stairs is one of the largest private, nonprofit child care and child development agencies in California, serving the communities of South Los Angeles, Compton, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Long Beach, Lynwood and surrounding areas. With their mission to improve the lives of families through child care services, research and advocacy in mind, Crystal Stairs has six core programs that serve South Los Angeles and over 40,000 children, families and child care providers each year:

1. Head Start, Early Head Start and State Preschool
Provides quality early learning and preschool along with comprehensive family services that support the enhancement and overall family development.
Assists over 26,000 low-income annually in paying for child care services and managing work and family issues as they transition from welfare to work.
Helps all families, regardless of income, locate child care and provides a variety of information, which includes nutrition education and child development resources, to assist families; professional development trainings and quality career coaching for child care providers.
Strengthens parent leadership, civic engagement and the ability to create systemic change in child care through advocacy efforts.
Provides essential resources and enhanced support services for parents. Over 6,000 parents are provided child care resources and information annually.
Provides enrollment into free or low-cost health care systems as well as community resources to improve the overall health and well-being of children and their families. 1,980 Children and families were enrolled into health care services over the past year.

Community Voices
For ten years, Crystal Stairs has been leading grassroots advocacy efforts through their Community Voices program. Community Voices is an advocacy program designed to build leadership capacity among parents, providers and working families; address the importance of investing in Child Care and Early Care and Education (ECE); support parents' access to quality, affordable childcare and early learning; as well as develop and strengthen relationships between communities and their local elected officials while building an understanding of the legislative process.

Since its inception in 2006, over 10,000 parents and child care providers have participated in the Community Voices and ECE advocacy trainings. Though it began with a focus on outreach within the Crystal Stairs service areas, in 2012 Community Voices was able to expand their resources Los Angeles Countywide with a short term grant funded by First 5 LA. This increased participation dramatically adding over 200 parents and providers to their annual training series. With limited funding, Crystal Stairs is working hard to re-engage funders around the critical importance of parent advocacy. Continued funding allows us to maintain the integrity of Community Voices, a program that attracts and educates parents, advocates, providers and elected officials from all over Los Angeles County. Aiming to give a voice to those that often feel invisible, Community Voices provides participants an opportunity to be an active contributor in the fight to increase the investment in Early Child Education and Child Care as well as the lives of those in underserved communities. Continuous funding for Community Voices equals hundreds of empowered voices dedicated to strengthening their leadership, civic engagement and ability to create systemic change through advocacy efforts. According to Jackie B. Majors, CEO of Crystal Stairs, "Community Voices' grassroots advocacy model is essential to the transformation and growth of these communities, parents' voices and their active participation in the legislative process." 

For more information about Crystal Stairs, visit

To join Crystal Stairs at the Dancing Under the Stars Legacy Gala on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, visit 

Senator Holly J. Mitchell and Crystal Stairs, Inc. CEO and 
Jackie B. Majors at the 3rd Annual LA County Stand for Children Day

Karen Kaye Achievement Awards

The Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles , together with its ten member agencies and Gateways for Early Educators™ Program, held its 6th Annual Karen Kaye Achievement Award celebration on June 18, 2016 at the Quiet Cannon Conference Center in Montebello.
This event honors child care providers and early educators who complete forty hours of training and coaching for a given year. Through this process, providers earn one or more Passports.
This fiscal year we provided over 800 training to over 4,000 providers.  At the Karen Kaye Achievement Awards celebration, we recognized over 260 Participants who racked up many hours of Early Childhood Education (ECE) professional development training:

ECE Participants
Training Hours
Passport Level
40 hours
80 hours
120 hours
160 hours
200 hours
240 hours
The Gateways for Early Educators™ provides training programs to improve quality in early childhood setting Los Angeles County, as well as access to information, resources and education. Gateways also helps child care providers navigate a path to the higher education system. Congratulations to all the honorees!

Master of Ceremonies, Joshua Alvarez (Kaplan) 
introduces the Keynote Speaker, Deborah Estes (Educational Consultant)

Kelly O'Connell (Options for Learning), is surrounded by the providers who participated and earned their passports.


A group photo of the trainers and coaches with Fiona Stewart, Program Director of CCALA

Meet CCALA's new Staff

Three new positions have recently been filled at CCALA as part of our partnership in Quality Start Los Angeles, funded by California Department of Education (CDE) through the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).  Our staff will coordinate the work of coaches located throughout our Resource and Referral agencies, who will work directly with sites on identified coaching goals related to the Quality Improvement Rating System.

CCALA is pleased to welcome Wendolly Lemus Parent & Consumer Education Coordinator,  Ilyssa Foxx, QRIS Program Manager, and  Briseida Gonzalez, Family Engagement Specialist.

Left to Right:  Wendolly Lemus, Ilyssa Foxx and Briseida Gonzalez

Job Announcements at CCALA
Currently, we have two open positions posted at our website: 
For more information about our open positions, click on the link above.

Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles  |  (323) 274-1380  |