For 30 years, CentroNía has been changing lives of children and families in DC and Maryland by providing affordable childcare to low income families and empowering immigrants and at-need communities through education. One of many lives that CentroNía has touched is the life of Yonis Benitez, a former CentroNía early learner.

Yonis and his siblings spent many years at CentroNía—first in the early childhood program, then in the after school and summer camp programs, and later in CentroNía’s summer youth employment program. Throughout this time, CentroNía meant everything for him and his mother. For a young immigrant mother of four earning minimum wage, CentroNía became the place where Yonis and his siblings were safe and had a space to learn, play, and grow.

“CentroNía was my home away from home and the staff was my family who encouraged me to learn, explore, be creative, and, in Mr. Ricky’s words [who still works at CentroNía today], be a ‘super star!’”

Every day, teachers at CentroNía work hard to instill the love for learning in the children we serve. In the safe space that CentroNía created for Yonis and continues to create for the hundreds of children served every year, we ignite a passion for learning, exploring, and creating. Each and every early learner is inspired to always shoot for the stars—to become a super star!

Throughout his life, Yonis has been carrying those values with him and continues to create and dream big. After earning an MBA, he co-founded two mobile location tech companies and led them as CEO. The first company was acquired, and his current company, Parkour Method, continues to grow.

“CentroNía is truly special to me, and has been so instrumental in my success. My hope is that CentroNía continues to be available to low-income, working, and immigrant families who need a safe place offering high-quality, affordable, bilingual childhood education programs for our city’s children.”

Yonis credits his success today to the individualized and personal care he received at CentroNía. When his mom, who could not read, was unable to help him and his siblings with homework, CentroNía was there to provide the support he needed to succeed in school.

Yonis’ hope is for CentroNía is to continue serving low-income, working, and immigrant families who need a safe place offering high-quality, affordable, bilingual early childhood education programs for our city’s children. This is only possible with YOUR support!

During these uncertain times, please make an urgently needed tax-deductible contribution to CentroNía in the spirit of this giving season.