Kimberly Jimenez, Outreach Coordinator; Jennifer Cowan, Executive Director and Dr. Jessica Reynaga, Director of Programs.

By: Donna Duperron

Children play a significant role in each of our lives and in our communities. Yesterday I had the pleasure of touring Connections for Children, a non-profit Childcare Resource and Referral agency serving parents, childcare providers, and educators.

For nearly 50 years, Connections for Children has increased the quality of childcare by influencing public policy, providing referral services for families, and offering professional development to early childhood educators. They assist over 3,500 families each year to find quality childcare regardless of income.

Upon my arrival, Jennifer Cowan, Executive Director, and Dr. Jessica Reynaga, Director of Programs welcomed me and provided a tour. As we walked through the beautiful office space, I enjoyed looking at the variety of pictures and artwork, the brightly colored pastel walls, and the way in which the office was designed to accommodate the fifty individuals who worked there. But, most importantly, I witnessed employees collaborating, talking, and laughing, it was such a positive atmosphere.

Connections for Children core services include accessing quality childcare, financial assistance, strengthening families and empowering caregivers. “We just adopted a three-year strategic plan which outlines expanded impact and reach especially into the South Bay communities by promoting quality services for children and their families. Child care in our region is delivered through a complex and varied ecosystem comprised of large and small providers operating in centers, schools, and private homes,” shared Cowan.

Connections for Children offers many workshops for parents, sharing tips on tantrums, toilet teaching, and positive discipline, and other important aspects of children’s development. Additionally, they provide a wide range of programs for childcare providers, including professional development workshops, one-to-one coaching support, and onsite technical assistance consultations. Their Mobile Toy Loan van makes stops at Family Childcare Homes throughout the area, delivering a variety of toys and books on a rotating basis.

One program that I enjoyed learning about was Family Time playgroup which is a program for children up to 5 years of age and their caregivers to participate together in playing, singing, arts and crafts, and story time. Play group leaders also facilitate sharing of resources and discussion of topics such as child development, preschool readiness, and building a community support network.

“We are recognized for the level of service and the assistance that we provide to help navigate individual’s needs and to connect and provide them with professional services. We are a best kept secret, but we do not want to be,” smiled Reynaga.

Every year, Connections for Children hosts the Betsy Awards, a fundraising event honoring childhood champions. Named after nationally renowned early childhood pioneer Betsy Hiteshew who helped found Connections for Children in 1976, this event includes recognition of honorees, a luncheon, live music, and auction. This year’s event will be held on April 28th.

Connections for Children is applauded for building a stronger future for children, families and communities through high-quality childcare resources, education, and guidance. The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce values their membership and wishes the organization much success as it continues to grow and expand. For further information, please visit

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