Benu Chhabra has been a licensed large family child care provider in Contra Costa County for the past 23 years and has been in the early childhood education field for over 30 years. Benu is the President of Bay Area Professional Family Child Care Network, her county-wide family child care association; the Treasurer for the California Family Child Care Network, a state-wide organization; and on the Board of Directors for CocoKids, the Contra Costa County Resource and Referral Agency.
For the past seven years, Benu has served students from Diablo Valley College as a California Early Childhood Mentor Teacher and for the past three years; worked closely with Childcare Changemakers Community, a group of parents, child care providers/educators, and supporters coming together to fight for affordable child care for every family as well as living wages for people who work in child care; and was recently selected to join the Local Planning Council for Early Care and Education, which helps inform local priorities and resources for Contra Costa County’s early care and education programs.
Benu is an active participant with the efforts of Home Grown, a national collaborative of funders committed to improving the quality of and access to home-based child care. Additionally, Benu was one of the presenters in several online webinars to over 1000 providers during the application process for a Minor Renovation Grant offered by the California Department of Social Services.
Benu is a co-founder of the BAPFCCN. Her tireless efforts have…
…Gotten SB234, the “Keeping Kids Close to Home Act,” passed. This bill will expand childcare opportunities for California families and reduce costs and red tape for home childcare providers statewide.
… Ensured that the Child Care Law Center’s information is fair, accurate, and accessible.
…Obtained $5000 grants for every family child care provider in the City of Concord – and she’s continuing the fight in several other cities in Contra Costa County for the same.
Early education is the foundation for success. A child well prepared to successfully handle kindergarten onwards is my goal for all children that pass through my doors. Confidence, adaptability, relationship building, and education are the core pillars I see in the children at my child care and ones that have graduated. I’ve served the community for over 27 years and many of the children from my child care are attending or have graduated from great universities across the nation, including UCSB, UC Davis, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Oregon State, and many more.
I have a degree in Early Childhood Education which has opened my eyes to all that child care providers offer. I am an educator, a mentor, a provider, and a safe place for children ages 0-5 years old from all walks of life. I have provided quality care to more than 350 children. I am heavily invested in my field, in the lives and wellbeing of my children, and I strive every day to continue to do better for the children and my community.
My passion for Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Family Child Care as a service started about 30 years ago. I was a new immigrant to California and had two young children I wanted to watch grow. I went to college to strengthen my language and earn a degree in ECE which I love and use on a daily basis. I immersed myself in this field and after opening my child care in 1996, I have mentored many providers throughout their ECE and child care journeys. As an educator, I realize the value of continued education in our field. I not only attend workshops on a regular basis, I am a part of the nationwide ChildCare Changemakers and Home Grown organizations and am also a board member of the Diablo Valley College ECE department, CocoKids, and Bay Area Professional Family Child Care Network. When advocating on a local and national level, I demand living wages for childcare providers, an equitable childcare system built on racial justice, and affordable childcare for all families.
SECRETARY AND FUNDRAISING
I'm a large licensed family child care provider in Oakley. I have five years of family child care experience. I can bring accounting and fundraising experience to the association.
Jeanette Cooper has been in the childcare business for 22 years. She is the co-founder of the Bay Area Professional Family Child Care Network; her duties include hospitality. Jeanette assists in organizing events that require venues and catering. She participates in Quality Matters, Inclusion, and Headstart as well.
Jeanette advocates for family child care health insurance, retirement, an increase in wages, and affordable child care for families.
ARABIC LANGUAGE COMMUNITY OUTREACH REPRESENTATIVE
For the past four years, I have operated a small child care in Concord. I hope to expand to a large family child care in the next couple of years. I participate in DRDP and have 29 child development units. I have worked with the Contra Costa County CSP program for the past eight years.
EAST REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Nacera is a devoted professional with an unshakable commitment to working with children. As the Director of American French Child Care, she has been a driving force in the childcare field since 2016. With over two decades of experience nurturing and educating young minds, Nacera's impact on the lives of children is immeasurable. Nacera's journey in the world of childcare began with her pursuit of an Associate Degree in Child Development, a commitment to understanding the intricacies of childhood development that has remained steadfast throughout her career. Her expertise is further underscored by her possession of a Site Director Permit, demonstrating her commitment to maintaining the highest standards in her childcare facility.
Beyond her professional life, Nacera is a loving wife and a dedicated mother to four children, a role that has enriched her understanding of the joys and challenges of parenthood. Her fluency in English, French, Arabic, and Berber enables her to connect with families from diverse backgrounds, fostering a sense of inclusivity and community within her childcare program.
Nacera's true calling is her unwavering enthusiasm for being around young children. Her involvement in the community is not just a job but a vocation, a testament to her desire to create a nurturing and educational environment where children can thrive and grow. Nacera's life is a testament to the power of dedication, expertise, and a heart full of love for the next generation.
& OUTREACH COORDINATOR
Merfat Gamal has been a licensed small family child care provider in Contra Costa County for more than 20 years. Merfat has an associate teacher permit from Diablo Valley College. Merfat joined the Bay Area Professional Family Child Care Network and for the past few months has helped other providers by going to Sacramento to ask for more benefits from our State. She attends the Board meetings each month, has participated in home tours, and has aided with various BAPFCCN events.
Karen Shaver has been in the childcare field for over 35 years. She has operated a small family childcare in her Concord home for the past 24 years. She is loving her new place on the Board of the Bay Area Professional Family Childcare Network -- her duties include all the fun stuff! Karen helps with organizing events and brings her creativity, imagination, and crafting talents to the Board and events. She participates in Quality Matters and as well as wishes to expand her faculty to large capacity over the next couple of years.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY AND TECH PERSON
Monique has been providing professional care and education to children 0-5 years of age since 1990. She has been recognized for her work over the years with multiple awards: Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by Nancy Pelosi; State of California Certificate of Recognition by Senator Mark Leno; Certificate of Honor by the City and County of San Francisco and Mayor Gavin Newsom; and Certificate of Appreciation by the City and County of San Francisco. She has many years of experience caring for twins with colic and GERD as well as children with special needs.
Monique created the BAPFCCN website from scratch and has assisted several providers create their websites as well. She helps the current Secretary with her duties, as needed, and welcomes the many opportunities to continue to participate in her community as a child care provider and advocate for other providers.