Bluebird, Bumblebee, Owl, and Honeybee classes were praised for facing a challenging school year while dealing with distance learning and other COVID-19 restrictions. The preschool students, their families and teachers gathered virtually August 6th to celebrate the graduation from Felton’s Early Care and Education (ECE) programs.  

YouTube player


Phyllis Hogan, the Children Youth and Family Training Supervisor hosted the event and introduced the graduating classes, explaining that this year has proven to be another challenging year for students everywhere. While parents and teachers share a universal worry that their children will be impacted by the drastic changes in lifestyle and schooling imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, young students continue to prove that they are resilient and capable. CEO Al Gilbert and COO Dr. Yohana Quiroz also joined to celebrate the resilience and accomplishments of the young students.

It was a shared sentiment.  Teachers and program staff shared their admiration for the flexibility and determination they saw from the students across the Felton Learning Center, the Felton Developmental Center, and the Martin Luther King Center. Dee Lee, Felton Learning Center’s Program Supervisor, congratulated the families, “It has been a great journey with you and your children.”

Since 1971, Felton has been providing comprehensive early care and education services across the Bay Area, specifically in neighborhoods with a high need for specialized and accessible education. These centers strive to provide an equitable opportunity for students to thrive and develop new skills, all while celebrating different cultures, languages, backgrounds, and beliefs.

The initial experiences in education can shape a lifelong learning journey.

“Graduation today marks the end of one chapter in the lives of our little ones,” said Dr. Yohana Quiroz.  “And marks the beginning of a new and exciting one.”

High-quality ECE benefits students long after graduation day. Students who receive an attentive preschool education are more likely to have a higher IQ score later in life, more likely to attend a four-year college, and less likely to become teen parents, use drugs, or experience severe mental health issues. In addition to the impactful benefits for children and their parents, ECE has extensive benefits for society as well, including fewer committed crimes, and improved public health outcomes.

These positive outcomes are hugely advantageous for Felton’s students and contribute to a stronger sense of self and personal development. A well-developed sense of community is beneficial for everyone. Students, families, and teachers alike feel gratitude for the ECE community.

“I am so happy for you, you have crossed the first line in your education path,” said staff Sueli Nunes, Family Developmental Center. “You showed determination and resilience.”

Glamr Diaz, whose child Kayla was a graduating Bluebird, said of Felton, “I feel they’ve been good at making sure that our kids are safe; making sure that the clean-up routine is good; not allowing too many people into the building at a time.”

Community contributions and donations are crucial for keeping Felton Institute programs like the ECE centers open and operating. Many of the families served through this program are low-income or living in poverty. If you are moved by the positive impacts made by these programs, we invite you to invest in the services that make this program possible.   

Felton Donation Page

You may also donate online and designate the CYF-TAY Division to support Felton’s Children Youth, Family (CYF), and Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Programs.

Written By Alisa Thorsen 

About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult, and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties. Felton’s social services and programs utilize the latest scientific research, combining cultural sensitivity, deep respect for client and staff, and a commitment to social justice.

Felton is the oldest non-sectarian and nonprofit social services provider in the City and County of San Francisco. For over a century, Felton Institute has been at the forefront of social service innovation, pioneering new approaches to meet underserved populations’ emerging needs. At the heart of our work is the belief that individuals and families in crisis must have access to services and resources to help them build on their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency.