Darío Herrera ’22

Child Educational Center, La Cañada, CA

This summer I was grateful to intern with the Child Educational Center (CEC), a progressive child care nonprofit dedicated to the continuous innovation of early childhood education. Located in La Cañada, the CEC was established to serve the growing childcare needs of Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) employees. Since its inception in 1979, the CEC has cultivated unique methods of early childhood education. They are nationally recognized for their Outdoor Classroom Project ® that centers a child’s curiosity in the learning process. Recently, they appointed a fellow Eph, Tashon McKeithan Ed.D ’95, as their new Executive Director. With this storied history in mind, I was super excited to join the CEC team as their first Advancement and Development Intern. Along with the appointment of Tashon, the CEC recently hired a new Director of Development so this summer was a time of adjustment and growth.

Summer Camp!

I did not know what to expect going into this internship but I was excited for the challenge that lay ahead. I found myself undertaking a variety of tasks ranging from database management, file organization, social media upkeep, and taking pictures of the children in the various yards. Given this period of transition, one of my first tasks as an intern was to meticulously organize the donation records of the CEC, going back to its inception. This was an enormous project, but it was necessary since in the world of advancement keeping good records is essential. Similarly, during this time the CEC was in the process of digitizing their records into Blackbaud, a cloud computing software that services the social good community. Given that Blackbaud was an entirely new software for me, I was fortunate enough to be able to take various courses that enabled me to become proficient in database management!

Taking photos of the various CEC summer camps.

My time at the CEC has allowed me to envision myself in an advancement or development position. I grew fascinated with the way that our Director of Advancement was able to create and grow relationships with donors in order to solicit larger donations. Additionally, these departments are in charge of large-scale fundraising events and that is an area that has always caught my attention.

As I return to complete my final year at Williams, I know that this is a pivotal time in regards to my future endeavors. For this reason, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity this internship has afforded me. I feel as if I have gained a greater focus in the areas I want to pursue following graduation. As a result, I would like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and Ms. Anne O. Burleigh for opening my eyes to what my future could possibly look like. Thank you for allowing me to pursue and discover my passions. Without your generosity none of this would be possible, and for that I am forever indebted to you all.