Originally scheduled for April 7th at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, La Casa de Don Pedro was suddenly faced with the challenge of transforming its annual cocktails and hors d’oeuvres reception into a virtual gala due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Though the late cancellation came with its own set of obstacles, La Casa successfully produced a short film highlighting this year’s theme “In the Company of Young Children”, which celebrates its impact in infant and toddler care. The film premiered last Friday, July 10, 2020 on Facebook Live to a group of eager supporters.

Hosted by Dr. Beverly Lynn, CEO of Programs for Parents, the short film features this year’s three honorees: The Maher Charitable Foundation, Samantha Lott-Velez (Executive Director of Early Childhood for the Newark Board of Education), and Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP (Dean of both Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School). The video takes viewers on a journey of La Casa’s work in early childhood education while the esteemed honorees discuss their impact in the field and their personal experiences working alongside children. Also making appearances are La Casa’s Board President Arcelio Aponte, Executive Director Raymond Ocasio, and Director of Early Childhood Education Yun Shin, who share their perspectives about La Casa’s Early Head Start, Head Start, and prenatal programs.

With added footage of La Casa kids interacting with their teachers along with testimonials from several delighted parents, it is clear to see the efficacy of the important work La Casa de Don Pedro is achieving with the future leaders of our society. Sonde Desun, father of two Early Head Start students at La Casa’s 201 First Street center, proclaims, “The quality of service they give to these children, you can see, it’s not about what they have to get for it. It’s who they are.”
The video ends with inspirational messages from the honorees, a vision of what the future of La Casa’s early childhood education program will look like by Yun Shin, and a heartfelt appeal by Ray Ocasio, which addresses the resources La Casa de Don Pedro needs to better accomplish its goals to empower and revitalize Newark’s young children and families. With seamless transitions and a wide variety of speakers and footage to keep you entertained, this is a fun watch that offers a refreshing and much-needed break from the usual.
La Casa es su Casa was made possible by support from our sponsors: Donnelly Construction, JP Morgan Chase & Co, M&T Bank, Prudential, PSE&G, and Valley Bank (Premier Gold); The Maher Charitable Foundation (Silver); Hispanic Federation, RWJ Barnabas Health – Clara Maass Medical Center & Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Santander Bank US, and Rutgers Biomedical & Health Sciences (Bronze); Nee Plata Law, LLC, PNC Bank, Rutgers University—Newark, and Thornton Agency/Philadelphia Insurance Companies, (Friend).

The video is now available to watch at

View Journal Book at

And a Special Thanks to all of our supporters who helped make this event possible:
Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin
Bayshore Recycling
Colonial Life
Dr. Gayle Griffin
G Ubarry Inc.
Leviticus Fund
Lotus Equity Group
Eltia Montano Galarza
NeighborWorks America
Newark Alliance
New Jersey Citizen Action
New Jersey Community Capital
New Jersey Institute of Technology
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Omni America
Pronesti Surveying, Inc.
RayZo Marketing, Inc.
Scalera Consulting Services
Security On Point, Inc.
Stobbs Printing
United Healthcare

Special Thanks:
Arcelio Aponte
Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP
Samantha Lott-Velez
Dr. Beverly Lynn
The Maher Charitable Foundation
Raymond Ocasio
Michael Petti
Barbara Reisman
Yun Shin
Stobbs Printing
Joy Yagid Photography
La Casa’s Early Childhood Education team members
La Casa’s Early Head Start team at 21 Dewey Street
La Casa’s Early Head Start team at 201 First Street
La Casa’s Head Start team at 45 Elizabeth Avenue

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