Roots and Love
The RC Family Collective
By Laura Maxson, LM
Families in south Santa Cruz County are getting excited about a new center opening this month. Raíces y Cariño (Roots and Love), also called the RC Family Collective or RC Fam for short, will be providing services to families based on diversity, inclusivity and equity.
This endeavor, headed by Nora Yerena and Juliana Reyes, is a labor of love. Both have deep ties to Watsonville. As a teen, Juliana immigrated to Watsonville from Mexico with her family. She worked for years in education and social service agencies in this community, which is dear to her heart. Her husband, a teacher in Watsonville for 21 years, also immigrated from Mexico. Nora married into a deeply rooted farming family in Watsonville. Her nearly 20 years working with families as a Certified Family Life Educator, doula, lactation professional, mental health peer counselor; and her own six children in a biracial/bilingual family, have given Nora a unique perspective on what families need for support.
The birth of Juliana’s young son was key to meeting up with Nora and discovering their shared vision for serving families in their community. As a new mom living in Santa Cruz, Juliana remembers having access to family services, including support groups, baby enrichment, and wellness classes. It made a difference as a new mother to not only survive, but to thrive. Juliana and Nora are passionate about ensuring these spaces of support and wellness are available to all families in the Watsonville and tri-county area by providing accessible and equitable support.
South county families have a prohibitively long commute to get to programs and classes in Santa Cruz that don’t necessarily meet their needs. Opening the Collective to bring bilingual services and classes directly to the Watsonville community is a dream come true.
Individual instructors and organizations offering services to families will rent space at the RC Family Collective. The goal is for all classes and groups to be bicultural and available in both English and Spanish. The Collective is truly meant to be a joint project with the needs of the community guiding the programs.
Raíces y Cariño (Roots & Love) believes the best way to ensure a child’s livelihood is by empowering their family structure, however that may look. Whole family support from babies to grandparents is the RC Family Collective’s goal.
Affordable family memberships, single class passes, and individual appointments are available including a sliding scale and full scholarships as needed.
- Offerings (in English and Spanish) to include:
Fitness (family & individual) yoga, dance, and prenatal/postpartum exercise.
- Parenting classes provided by Positive Discipline Community Resources (PDCR)
- Certified car seat installation and inspection
- Nursing Mothers Counsel – lactation support
- Kid Power International Program – personal safety education for all ages, teaching skills for strong relationships and the prevention of harm.
- Everyone’s Music School – affordable community music lessons.
- Bilingual baby sign language
- Childbirth Education
- Peer support groups for Dads
- LGBTQIA+ support groups for families and youth
- Support groups for new parents
- We Get It – support for parents with children with special needs
- Grief and loss support for individuals, couples and groups, experiencing birth trauma and/or loss
- Bay Area Baby Wearing – on site baby carrier library with meet-ups the 2nd Sunday of the month for parents to borrow carriers, as well as in-house bilingual baby wearing experts in between meet-ups.
Centrally located at 1205 Freedom Blvd., #3B, Watsonville, Raíces y Cariño/RC Fam offers a spacious classroom/studio area for large groups, and a treatment room for licensed providers such as psychologists, massage therapists and counselors. It also features an enclosed outdoor area, childcare room, kitchenette, and a large, free parking lot.
The opening celebration for RC Family Collective is Sunday, October 9, from 3 to 5pm. This free event will showcase the facility and services. Community partners will be there sharing resources and information. Visitors can expect to find information about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting issues, as well as ongoing support for older children, teenagers, and their parents.
A community-based collective is ever evolving. With planned events including family dances, family karaoke night and community dinners, the RC Family Collective aims to bring a space for this community’s own roots and love to grow.
Opening celebration – 10/9/22, 3-5pm
RC Family Collective – rcfam.com
#rcfam831 on Facebook & Instagram
(831) 288-3105 call or text
Services also listed at birthnet.org