Yazmin Jara was a beloved and cherished member of our community until her untimely passing in May 2019.
To honor Yazmin’s service to thousands of children and her impact in Fruitvale as a Head Start teacher and site director for more than 25 years, the Head Start Center located at 1900 Fruitvale Ave is now renamed Yazmin Jara Child Development Center.
Yazmin entered The Unity Council’s Head Start program in 1992 as a parent. She was an active volunteer and demonstrated skillful practice in the classrooms, such that the staff encouraged her to enroll in classes to become a teacher.
She started her early childhood education career as a substitute teacher in 1993. And soon after that, she earned her Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education at Merritt College while simultaneously raising two young daughters and teaching full time.
“My mom was a strong and determined woman who was dedicated to working with children and families in our community.” Says Rosie Jara, Yazmin’s daughter and The Unity Council’s Children and Family Services Compliance Manager, inspired by her mother, Rosie followed her footsteps into a career in early childhood education. “My mom never let anything get in her way and overcame many obstacles throughout her life. She continues to inspire me and my daughter and all those who had the pleasure of meeting her.”
In 2005, Yazmin was promoted to serve as the founding Center Director for the Head Start Center at 1900 Fruitvale Ave, The Unity Council’s administrative headquarters. She was an outstanding leader, and for many years, she led professional development training for Head Start teachers in other sites.
“Yazmin was kind and friendly with everyone in the building,” said the Director of Children & Family Services Luis Arenas, as he remembered how she will walk into the building greeting children and their parents, “Head Start families and staff knew that they could always count on her to help them and support them.”
Yazmin was an inspiration to those around her, having overcome many obstacles that many of our community members encounter to achieve their career goals. She is and will forever be missed dearly by this community.