Imagine Spotlight: Gloria Vasquez Hernandez
This week and for International Women’s Day,
we are proud to feature Imagine U lead mentor and state-approved trainer Gloria Vasquez Hernandez.
When Gloria Vasquez Hernandez decided to open a family child care businesses in Wenatchee, Washington, she knew she could provide a safe and caring space. She knew she could fill a need in her community. But she didn’t know how to become licensed.
Gloria found herself frustrated with complex requirements and paperwork. She considered quitting, but pressed on and opened Little Dreamers Daycare in 2015.
A few years later, she heard The Imagine Institute was recruiting experienced providers for a new program — and she knew she wanted to help.
Soon, Gloria was guiding future child care providers as a mentor for Imagine U.
“When I heard about Imagine U doing the mentor program, I said, that is wonderful, because I know how it feels,” she said. “I feel so happy to be part of this program because we can support these new professional providers.”
Gloria has since mentored five Imagine U interns who went on to start their own businesses, expanding access to child care across the Wenatchee area. She’s currently mentoring three more.
Gloria’s interns spend 20 hours a month working at Little Dreamers, observing how she runs her business and gaining hands-on experience working with children. Through Imagine U, they learn skills in eight months that it took Gloria years to learn on her own.
“They know the technology, they know the regulations, they know the care, they know how to manage the program,” Gloria said. “They are well prepared in providing 100% and more quality services because of Imagine U.”
Gloria continues her journey with Imagine
Gloria saw so much value in her experience as a mentor, she sought out even more opportunities through The Imagine Institute. She became a state-approved trainer through The Imagine Institute’s trainer fundamentals course and now teaches many classes in Spanish. Three years ago, she became a lead mentor for Imagine U, leading groups of interns and mentors through the program.
She loves to pass along the knowledge she’s gained in her profession.
“To share our experience to the other providers is the best thing that can be happening, because we know what we’re talking about, and we know what are the challenges to be a family child care provider,” she said. “I think someone who’s done the same things has a better understanding of the daily life of a family child care provider.”
The people Gloria trains and mentors learn how to run businesses that are successful and sustainable. She said this is especially important in a time when parents need to have trustworthy, high-quality child care options so they can get back to work and help Washington’s economy recover.
She knows that the children she and her former interns care for will go on to big things, too.
“They’re going to run this nation,” she said. “Future doctors, teachers, nurses, legislators, all those future professionals I have in my day care. My responsibility is special — it’s to help them to learn the basic skills to be the best professionals in their field and be better human beings.”
With such important futures on the line, Gloria said she hopes the state will continue investing in Imagine U.
“I’m so glad to be part of this program, and I hope this program runs for years and stays forever,” she said. “There’s a lot of need, and Imagine Institute and Imagine U are meeting those needs for providers.”
Thank you, Gloria, for all your hard work and dedication to your community and our Imagine family!