Upcoming Course: Gender Continuum>

Jennifer Lopez, BS

Community Dialogue Facilitator

Jennifer Lopez has always had a passion for working with children, families and communities. Prior to YES Institute, she served as Executive Director of The Child Care Center, Inc., where she oversaw early childhood services for over 130 youth from infancy to Pre-K.

In high school, Jen was an active member of the Future Educators of America, and volunteered with Best Buddies and Special Olympics. She has worked as a Paraprofessional for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and severed as a Teacher Assistant for the Children’s Creative Learning Center at Florida International University (FIU).

Jen is a YES Institute Community Dialogues Facilitator engaging participants, in both English and Spanish language, in authentic and open conversations about youth safety and healthy development on the topics of gender and orientation. Being the newest staff member on our team, she enthusiastically brings new ideas to our work.

Jen is pursing a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction Development at FIU and is a member of the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC).

“As an early childhood specialist, I am always eager for more knowledge in creating and ensuring a safe environment for all youth to develop as healthy young people.” – Jennifer Lopez

What skills and expertise do you bring to the team?

I am a critical thinker who is highly motivated, coachable, and a team player with expertise in Early Childhood Education.  I have been able to bring experiences and knowledge of how gender, orientation, and bullying shows up at such early ages. I have also assisted in creating age-appropriate material for youth and Early Childhood professionals to have access to conversations on these topics.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

That everyday is a learning experience! Specifically, having conversations with diverse communities and learning about their experiences on how gender and orientation has impacted them or the people in their lives.

What has YES Institute done that you’re particularly proud of? 

Both the longevity of maintaining such a powerful mission (over 20 years!) and the way YES Institute includes the entire community in our work to create a world of US!

Name a peak experience in your life. What happened? 

At the age of 25, I was appointed the Executive Director of one of the top Child Care Center’s in South Florida. I oversaw the daily operation and financials of the school. I also worked hand-in-hand with the team to ensure the implementation of the school’s philosophy and Code of Ethics to maintain a high quality program. In this role, I also created and implemented educational and developmental goals within each classroom as a whole and on individual basis for both the children and teachers. This experience was truly a huge learning curve for me on a personal and professional level providing me with the tools to further enhance my commitment to education and the need to continue my mission of creating a safe environment for all.

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I learned that people are bullied and targeted based on their gender expression. Not their orientation. I've never thought of that before. - A. D. Henderson High School student

A.D. Henderson High School Student