Jennifer Lopez has always had a passion for working with children, families and communities. Prior to her tenure at YES Institute from 2016–2020, 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.
During her tenure as an early childhood educator, she would observe instances of bullying behaviors and would hear students as young as 4 years old using phrases such as “boys don’t cry,” “sit like a lady,” or “that’s so gay,” “you look like a girl.” And she found herself lost and not knowing how to respond to these messages in an age appropriate way or how to speak with her fellow colleagues and parents about these topics. In those moments she immediately realized that her ultimate professional goal is to work with the community to provide every child the opportunity to be unique, appreciated, and most importantly equipped with the tools to use their voices to make a lasting impact on the world.
Jen serves as YES Institute’s Early Childhood Education consultant, 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. Jen developed a bullying prevention program for Early Childhood professionals and youth – providing tools to engage in age-appropriate conversations around gender stereotypes, and nurturing a community with feelings of belonging. She also presented at the 2019 National Association of Education for Young Children international conference on gender equity practices within early learning classroom environments.
Jen has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education & Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction Development from FIU. She is a member of the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC), and was awarded the 2018 Florida Association of Education of Young Children (FLAEYC) Member Advocate Award.
“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