Representation Matters: Meet Changemakers at CII
This Black History Month, we featured #BlackExcellence in our CII Community. Recommended by their leaders and peers, we featured six of our colleagues who are making a huge impact for their community.
Dr. Brandi Eichstedt has been with CII for five years and is a Behavioral Health and Wellness Manager. Dr. Eichstedt manages the behavior and wellness component of CII’s Early Head Start and Head Start programs, which consists of the disabilities and mental health content areas.
Her deep love for forensic psychology and passion for the healing power of early intervention allows her to help youth recover from stress and trauma.
One thing she wants you to know is that she too was in Head Start. She shares, “that experience had a profound impact on me and my family! My love of learning came from my Head Start teacher, and I don’t think that I would be a doctor today if I had not been in the program.”
Crystal Williams-Dottin, MSW has been at CII for six years and is a Family and Community Partnership Manager. Crystal makes connections with community partners to ensure that resources and services are readily available for our families.
Raising her son as a single mom inspired her to learn more about child development, and as a native of South Los Angeles and former recipient of public-funded services, providing services for other families solidified her desire to become a social worker from a strength-based lens.
As an African-American woman, her story of perseverance brings greater meaning to representation. She says, “I represent women of color, working professionals, parents, and most importantly anyone who has risen from adversity and challenges to accomplish great things!”
Carmelita Shorts has been at CII for eight years and is now a Site Supervisor.
Carmelita provides a safe, fun and healthy place for children to learn and play each day. She is motivated by her love of seeing children grow, and getting to share their lives day to day with their teachers.
She has over 20 years of experience working with young children, and says “it’s my calling, and my yearly goal is to see the children happy and to keep them safe.”
Thresa Offord has been at CII for eight years and is an Education Coaching Manager.
Thresa’s role allows her to supervise Education Specialists, providing support and guidance as they mentor and coach teachers. She is passionate about teachers seeing their own strengths and gaining ground to move to the next level.
One thing she wants the community to know is that who they are and what they represent matters. She says, “they are seen, and we want to be advocates to identify their strengths, help them reach their dreams for themselves and their children. I believe there is nothing our community can’t do as long as we show them we believe in them, and we are here to take the ride beside them and with them.”
Georgette Bradley has been at CII for eight years and is now a Site Supervisor.
Georgette supports the growth and wellness of all children, families and staff in her care. She is always there for her team and is available to listen and respond to any of their needs.
She has been motivated to be an efficient and effective leader since she was 16, when she worked in a family daycare center. “I’m most proud of my ability to bring people together,” she says.
Francis Jenkins has been at CII for seven years and is an Education Specialist. She works with teachers to ensure that all lesson plans, activities and materials are developmentally appropriate, and she works with colleagues to plan integrated training for teachers.
Early childhood became a calling for Francis when she took her son to his first day of preschool at a Head Start in South Los Angeles. She was able to stay and support his transition to a new environment, which made him feel comfortable and know he was safe. She says, “I always felt welcomed and appreciated, which made me want to share that same feeling with others. So I started to volunteer, and my passion for nurturing the young grew into a 42-year career.”