Crystal and Ary Underwood-Green

Childcare and early childhood development are two of the most sought-after career pathways of youth in Santa Maria Community Services’ youth employment program. In November 2019, Santa Maria partnered with Corban Learning Center, a local 5-star childcare provider, to make it a Work Experience Program (WEP) site. Corban Learning Center serves children from a few months old to five-years-old.  The goal of the WEP is to provide youth with work experience in a motivating, rewarding, and challenging workplace. Santa Maria’s partnership with Corban Learning Center gives youth the opportunity to gain experience in childcare. With the help of the Center Director, Ary Underwood-Green, Santa Maria successfully placed youth – one of whom was Crystal – at the worksite within the first week of the partnership.

Crystal has been utilizing our youth employment program for more than three years, but it wasn’t until she began working for the Center that she felt appreciated as an employee. With Ary’s assistance, Crystal is already taking steps toward earning her Child Development Associate credential. “I’ve learned I can work really well with children other than my own,” she said. “I’ve learned that I like working with a smaller company because there is more of a family feel, and I now know what it feels like to be appreciated and valued as an employee for the first time.”

Corban Learning Center has invested in work experience youth just as much as they have in their own employees. The pride that Ary takes in her employees has encouraged and lifted Santa Maria’s youth, giving them the confidence to take strides toward their goal of finding the right career path, just like Crystal.

Crystal is on the path to achieve her goals through Santa Maria; however, many of our friends and neighbors are still struggling.  Your donation to Santa Maria helps further our mission and allows people like Crystal find their way to success and happiness.


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