At the age of 24, Quanaeshia is the mother of two spirited children and on a mission to give them a future filled with stability, opportunity, and constant love. Her daughter Ryla, age 3, and her son Rylan, 4 months, provide Quanaeshia the motivation she needs to transcend hard times and model a foundation of resiliency for her children. In 2017, Quanaeshia had trouble with housing and was unable to find stable employment. She and her children jumped from hotel room to hotel room for the better part of a year until she was finally able to find refuge among extended family. With the stress of finding shelter alleviated, Quanaeshia set her sights on education for herself and her children. Today Quanaeshia is taking leaps towards the thriving future she intends to build for herself and her children—and it starts with access to the high-quality early childhood education and support services at CentroNía.

“When I’m having a bad day or experience hardships, I know no matter what happens I will always have the unconditional love and motivation I need from Ryla and Rylan,” says Quanaeshia.

Quanaeshia poses with her daughter Ryla and her son Rylan.

Quanaeshia enrolled her children at CentroNía less than a year ago and she is so happy that her children are part of a community that is diverse, welcoming, and a lot like family. When Ryla first started at CentroNía, she was shy and did not talk much, yet always eager to walk in the door and see her friends and teachers. Today, Quanaeshia can see how much her speech has developed since starting the early childhood education program. Ryla’s teacher Ms. Carmen says she has a friend that she sleeps next to every day during naptime. Ryla’s friend is predominantly Spanish-speaking, while Ryla is not, and despite communication barriers they forged a close bond playing, exploring, and growing in their dual-languages together.

As a mother, Quanaeshia believes education is critical to her family’s success and happiness. Her pride in her children’s learning radiates every time she speaks, and if you were to visit her home you would see the walls covered in her children’s artwork and a home library filled with books. One of Ryla’s favorite activities is reading! She receives a new book in the mail every month from the DC Public Library’s Books from Birth program and Ryla and her mom sit down and read it together as soon as it arrives.

“Ryla LOVES the book “Five Little Monkeys.” I like to be animated and sing with her every time we read it together because she has so much fun,” shared Quanaeshia. “She will often sit with the book and mumble the words she remembers trying to read it herself while looking at the pictures.”

Quanaeshia and her daughter Ryla love reading together!

At 4 months old, Rylan began in CentroNía’s program a month ago, and Quanaeshia couldn’t be happier seeing the consistent love and care his infant teacher Ms. Keisha shows him each day. His days are full of napping, eating, tummy time, listening to music, and learning new sounds in a dual-language environment, and like his sister—his favorite time is story time!

Quanaeshia is also achieving some wall-worthy accomplishments in her own life. While Ryla and Rylan are in school Quanaeshia is busy completing assignments for the Business Administration program she is enrolled in, with the goal of receiving her bachelor’s soon. Currently on the Dean’s List, it’s clear her hard work is paying off in a big way. To say Quanaeshia is determined would be an understatement. Her hardships forged a strong sense of self and independence, and she is adamant about carrying on her family’s legacy.

“My family used to own The Red Line Grill in the Takoma area which served soul food and was even featured in the Washington Post. I’d love to one day be able to open my own spot!” says Quanaeshia. “But, if that doesn’t work out I always have my back up plan to become an accountant.”

CentroNía is providing the foundation for learning that Ryla and Rylan will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. Other services like CentroNía’s partnership with DC Diaper Bank provide critical supplies for Quanaeshia at no cost which allows her to better manage family expenses. Having a safe space where her children can learn and grow, Quanaeshia has the time she needs to focus on her own education and in achieving the goals she has set for her family. The CentroNía community is a welcoming environment for Quanaeshia’s family to feel safe and loved—a place they know they can celebrate the good and find support when faced with challenges.