Saint Vincent’s Day Home is one of the jewels in Oakland’s crown.
– Former Mayor Jerry Brown, City of Oakland
100 years ago, Saint Vincent’s Day Home was founded in West Oakland to ensure that children of the “poorest of the poor” working families would be educated and nurtured, and their parents empowered to meet family responsibilities. It is located in what has become one of the Bay Area’s most challenged communities. In the midst of this harsh environment, Saint Vincent’s Day Home stands out as an oasis of beauty and stability, offering hope to the children and families it serves.
Founded by the Sisters of the Holy Family in 1911 and now an independent nonprofit, the Day Home is the oldest and largest Child Development Center in Alameda County. It remains in its original location, an 1863 Victorian home with expanded facilities on a campus of over an acre, because that is where the need has consistently been. If anything, the need is greater than ever before.
To date, some 35,000 children have graduated from the Day Home. Many of our alums have gone onto college, started businesses, become community leaders, and welcomed children of their own. At Saint Vincent’s, we believe that an early childhood education lays the foundation for future success. Proud of our heritage and tradition, we are committed to serving 50,000 more children in the century to come.
Who Qualifies for Services
Enrollment at Saint Vincent’s is offered to those most in need. First priority is given to those who are homeless, protected by the court, or medically fragile. The next priority is children whose parents or caregivers are employed or in a school program leading to employment are considered by lowest per‐capita income.
The stability of working families living below the poverty line is so fragile that even a minor setback can quickly become a crisis, crippling a child’s capacity to learn or even attend school. Saint Vincent’s identifies these setbacks as critical challenges where resources must quickly be focused in order to prevent a catastrophic impact on a child’s healthy development. Recognizing and addressing these critical challenges with immediate, focused intervention sets Saint Vincent’s Day Home apart from most other agencies educating young children. Children succeed in school and in life when they have a safe place in which to experience diverse activities that help them develop a positive self‐concept along with sound intellectual and social skills. This is the cornerstone of Saint Vincent’s educational programs.
Most of the Day Home’s children live in situations of almost unrelenting anxiety and adversity, which researchers have shown disrupts brain circuits that lead to problems with literacy and cause health problems later in life. In order for children to succeed, certain factors must be present, which Saint Vincent’s strives to provide:
- A calm, safe learning environment
- Parents trained to develop secure attachments with their children
- Good nutrition and adequate health care
- Focused intervention when “critical challenges” arise
- High quality, individualized teaching
Saint Vincent’s primary goals are to impart to every child a love of reading and learning, a sense of confidence and compassion, sound social skills, and healthy physical development. Teachers employ a finely honed curriculum, benchmarks to be reached through daily lesson plans, and daily journaling on each child that charts individual progress toward goals and documents health and behavioral factors important to the child’s success.
As part of our 100th year, we launched the Centennial Campaign to ensure Saint Vincent’s Day Home remains a beacon of hope providing child development and family services for another 100 years.