We may live in a concrete jungle but that wasn’t good enough for daycare provider Alenny Lopez.

Her dream was to cover the backyard pavement with synthetic grass but doing so was too expensive.

She spoke with LSSNY’s Family Child Care Director Sheraliz Velazquez, who told her about a Citibank grant the agency had received to help providers improve their daycares.

In less than a week, the grass was installed.

“They love it!” Alenny says of the children in her care. “They feel free. They run, they feel secure. Before, we were more on top of them, being careful that they didn’t fall. Before, we tried to develop their gross motor skills with dance and exercise, inside. Now we can do this outside and we are more safe.”

Alenny runs a daycare from her home in the Bronx, caring for children from six weeks to 12 years old. Though she is licensed to care for sixteen kids (12 for the whole day and four after school), she currently cares for 13 — three infants, three toddlers, five three-year-olds, and two after school. Daycare includes lesson plans, circle time, art, math, playtime, and three meals a day. Every four months, she meets individually with parents to discuss observations and progress.

Before becoming a daycare provider, Alenny worked at Bloomingdales for eight years, including weekends and holidays, During this time, she left her two daughters in someone else’s care. “She made me feel secure, like my daughters were safe and I was going to work very relaxed, very secure, knowing that my daughters were good with this person,” Alenny says.

Eventually realizing she wanted to spend more time with her daughters, she created a daycare of her own and modeled it after her own experience. “I want the parents to feel the same that I felt when I left my daughters, that the kids are going to be safe, secure, eating healthy,” she says.

Alenny adds, “All that I do is the best for the kids. They are my everything.”

LSSNY’s Early LIFE/ Early Childhood Education program currently serves 660 children from six weeks to three years old across all boroughs of New York City, with 78 affiliated providers serving 506 children in the Bronx.

Please consider an end-of-year donation today to LSSNY.