Price Hill mom a Santa Maria success story

LaDonna Strait has spent the past 13 years caring for young children in her home and helping them prepare for kindergarten—a surprising vocation for someone who didn’t like school at all when she was growing up.

LaDonna, who participates in Santa Maria Community Services’ Family Child Care Provider Training (FCC), says she’s giving back to the children what she didn’t get as a young girl.

“In my community and our culture, we don’t get a lot of opportunities,” she says. “In my home, I wasn’t pushed. I didn’t like school because I didn’t have the help. If you have that help and someone to give you that drive and encouragement, you’ll like school.”

At this point in her career, LaDonna, a mother of two herself, has made an impact on dozens of lives in Price Hill, and she has made many additions to her childcare setting to improve the quality of care she provides. Working with Santa Maria’s FCC team, LaDonna has updated her environment to foster the children’s social and emotional development, including creating a picture schedule of her daily routine, displaying the children’s artwork, adding low, open shelves that organize materials by type, and adding a quiet space complete with a pup tent where children can go to be alone. LaDonna is currently working on strengthening her partnerships with families, making sure they receive information about kindergarten readiness and providing them with information on community resources.

“FCC has helped me a lot; it gives me ideas,” LaDonna says. “The ideas they have, I love them! I have a lot of little areas for the kids.”

LaDonna stays in touch with many of her “graduates,” and as she reflects on what the children have accomplished, she’s proud of the legacy she’s leaving in Price Hill.

“It gives me chills,” she says.

FCC empowers child-care providers like LaDonna with tools, services and ongoing training to ensure a lasting legacy of early-childhood education. 

On April 26, FCC will benefit from a promotion at Ten Thousand Villages, which will donate to FCC 15 percent of purchases made by shoppers who present a flyer that can be found at

Ten Thousand Villages, located in O’Bryonville, is part of a network of nonprofit fair-trade retailers that feature handcrafted gift items, accessories and home décor made by artisans from developing countries around the world.

Santa Maria Community Services provides Greater Price Hill with educational tools and resources to build strong families, promote healthy residents and foster neighborhood revitalization. For 116 years, Santa Maria has helped families help themselves. For more information about Santa Maria Community Services, visit its website:

For more information about FCC and how you can support the program, please call 513-557-2700, ext. 222.