Shine Podcast

Shine: a child and youth development podcast

We are experts in child and youth development and the impacts that has on families and communities. Together, we explore all things in the world of childcare and education, starting with diving into the virtual world during a pandemic.

Tips for staying sane while balancing work & healthy family living with Caroline Chambers

On this episode of Shine, we are joined by Caroline Chambers, a recipe developer, food writer, and the author of “Just Married: A Cookbook for Newlyweds.” She’s also a mom of 2 (with one on the way!) and has made a name for herself on Instagram as a superstar working mom, constantly sharing tips for how to balance it all.

In this episode, Caroline and Allie discuss tips for staying sane while running a business and trying to keep the family fed and healthy, as well as tricks for getting veggies in, and building healthy eating habits at home.  Find Caroline at on Instagram @carochambers, and be SURE to sign up for her incredible newsletter/digital cookbook, What to Cook When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking.

Importance of Family Choice in Childcare

Today we’re speaking with our internal experts about the importance of Family Choice regarding childcare with the recent passing of AB 22. What is AB 22? AB 22 will extend universal access to full-day transitional kindergarten (TK) programs to all 4-year-olds statewide at no cost to families. Unfortunately, the proposed legislation (AB 22) that expands TK across California, falls short for many families, communities across the state, and especially for childcare workers who kept our state functioning during the long year of COVID. Alison Michel-Hall, who is leading today’s discussion is joined by Heather Slimp and Lizelle Wulff, who have experience as not just experts in the field, but a vested interest as parents themselves seeking the right option to meet the individual needs of their children.

AB 22 Resources:


Supporting Families with Children’s Dreams with Carolina Fonseca Jimenez

Carolina was brought to the United States at the age of 2 years old. Her parents came to the U.S. in search of a better life and in hopes of achieving the American Dream. She grew up in the public-school system, went to East Carolina University to study Psychology and then to Central Law School. Throughout her educational career she faced the complex immigration process like many other Dreamers. She noticed the sacrifices her parents made throughout her life and knew she had to bring unity to the family even if it was divided by a man-made border. She used her passion to unite her own family to write Lupita and the Magic of Mexico and to share this message with others who may be going through similar situations. As she shared this message across our NC schools, many children could relate to her story and shared nightmares they had about family separation, so she wrote, Lupita and her Magical Dreams for kids to understand the meaning of their nightmares. In writing these books she learned that love has no borders and that stories can unite us in a magical way. Carolina’s passion is to inspire those around her by her example, and her mission is to provide guidance with Dreams and nightmares.

Carolina fue traída a los Estados Unidos a la edad de 2 años. Sus padres llegaron a los Estados Unidos en busca de una vida mejor y con la esperanza de lograr el Sueño Americano. Creció en el sistema de escuelas públicas, fue a la Universidad de East Carolina para estudiar Psicología y luego a la Facultad de Derecho, Central. A lo largo de su carrera educativa enfrentó el complejo proceso de inmigración como muchos otros Dreamers. Ella notó los sacrificios que sus padres hicieron a lo largo de su vida y supo que tenía que traer unidad a la familia incluso si estaba dividida por una frontera. Ella usó su pasión para unir a su propia familia para escribir Lupita y la Magia de México y compartir este mensaje con otras personas que pueden estar pasando por situaciones similares. Al compartir este mensaje en nuestras escuelas de Carolina del Norte, muchos niños pudieron relacionarse con su historia y compartieron sus pesadillas que tenían sobre la separación familiar, por lo que escribió, Lupita y la Magia de los Sueños para que los niños entendieran el significado de sus pesadillas. Al escribir estos libros aprendió que el amor no tiene fronteras y que las historias pueden unirnos de manera mágica. La pasión de Carolina es inspirar a quienes la rodean con su ejemplo, y su misión es brindar orientación con sueños y pesadillas.

Book Information

Lupita and the Magic of Mexico

After growing up in the United States, Lupita finally has the opportunity to explore her birthplace of Mexico with her mother, Ma. Lupita and Ma go on an adventure to learn about the beauty Mexico has to offer. Along the way, they see the culture of Mexico as they explore a parade, the music, and even a castle! Lupita and Ma journey across their home city and find that the magic they were looking for may not be tied to one place at all!

Lupita and her Magical Dreams  

Have you ever woken up terrified from a scary dream? Lupita has, and she’s determined to find out what it means! Join Lupita as she explores the meaning of her scary dream. Her journey begins in bed and before you know it, she is flying through the universe! How you ask? Let’s join Lupita on her journey as we are invited into her Magical Dream World!

These books are available in English and in Spanish and offer Highlights of the other language for a spark of learning!








Navigating Pregnancy and Infant Care in a Pandemic and Beyond with Emily Silver

Tune in for a conversation with Emily Silver, co-founder of NAPS and Nurture by Naps, a provider of prenatal education and postnatal support services. The NAPS team of Registered Nurses practices to the highest standards, providing clients with seamless, experienced, evidenced-base care that empowers them as parents. Emily is most passionate about educating and supporting families through NAPS in a way that makes them feel confident, comfortable, and free of judgment in all of their parenting decisions. She is relatable when working with clients, pulling from her own experiences from pregnancy and early parenting as a mother of two, going on three! She’s a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

On this episode, we dive into some of the challenges of pregnancy and early parenthood, especially those made unique during a pandemic.

Find Emily:

Instagram: @NurturebyNAPS

Podcast: Unswaddled

Nurture by NAPS Online Membership

Additional Resources:

Emily Oster’s Decision Making Model


Inspiring Childhood Confidence and Creativity Through Music with Diana Ladio

In this episode of Shine, we are joined by Diana Ladio, a professional musician and educator based in Nashville, TN. She tours playing shows with her electric strings ensemble, The Moxie Strings, and bringing enrichment workshops to schools across the country. She is an avid emotional health advocate and mentor, and as comes through in this episode, she cares deeply about helping children become empowered through music.

In this conversation, we discuss the importance of creative endeavors in child development and tactical things you can do to weave music and creative pursuits into your children’s lives to build lifelong confidence and creativity.

Find Diana on Instagram @dianaladio and @themoxiestrings, and on her website at


Coping Mechanisms, Self-Care & Supporting Children Through a Pandemic

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Today we’re joined by Megan Vincent, Senior Director HR Ops, Cynthia Gallardo, Program Quality Manager, and Sarah Richie, Program Coach. We dive into topics surrounding self-care in the Field of Education, especially during these challenging times. We navigate behavioral challenges in children, how we can be more present in the classroom and be more emotionally available to children. We also provide resources for families at home to better support their children.

Placer County SELPA
Lighthouse Community Center
Walking Up the CA Teaching Pyramid: Tools to Support Children’s Return

Summertime: Importance of Play + Time in Nature

The importance of play, especially as we head into the summer months, is more important than ever. We’re slowly transitioning into this new normal as we grow closer to post-pandemic. For this particular episode, as things re-open and it’s physically possible to be together again, we’re focusing on the importance of play in nature. Kids will be returning to summer and day camps. We’re joined by Site Supervisor of South Lake Tahoe Catalyst Kids, Alexis Hughes, and Program Coach, Sarah Richie who will share their passion and experiences with us as well as valuable resources that can be found below.

Supporting Dual Language Learners

April is National Multilingual Learner Advocacy month! We will be highlighting resources for families, teachers, and providers to support our state’s Dual Language Learners (DLLs). Nearly half of California households represent multilingual families and we recognize the increased significance of supporting our multilingual communities here at Catalyst.

Joining us today are our Dual Language Learning experts Lizelle Wulff, Karla Delgado, & Jennifer Escamilla. They previously joined us for an interview over on our connection hub last year where we initially learned about the DLL program. You can find it over on our website 

Learn more about our DLL program:


Speak Your Language – Family Resources

(A concise handout for families that are in MANY different languages.)

Early Edge California – Bills We Support

(This page has information about AB 1363, which we briefly talked about during the podcast)

Colorin Colorado – Family Resources

(Bilingual site for parents of multilingual learners)

How to look for quality childcare

Today we’re going to get advice on How to look for quality childcare, a topic that is on a lot of parents’ minds right now.

As we know, the childcare sector has been devastated by the pandemic, with thousands of licensed childcare centers in California either permanently or temporarily closed during 2020.

Now we’re seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and many families who had their kids at home with them over the last year are back to looking for quality childcare for their children. There are many factors to consider, from curriculum and programming to health and safety, communication styles, location, and so much more. I’m so glad that we were able to speak with two experts on the matter for this episode: Alison Michel-Hall, Senior Director of Education for Catalyst Family, and Heather Slimp, Program quality manager for Catalyst Kids. Please enjoy and be sure to get in touch with us to let us know your thoughts on the episode and any follow-up questions you might have! You can reach us at


·        Choosing Quality Childcare on (five steps to choosing care, selecting a program and visiting, Child care Quality Rating QRIS, and more….) 

·       Choosing Quality Childcare on (several resources to guide you in your center visit, choosing a program if your child has special needs and a list for infant/toddler as well as school-age)

·        What to Look For in a Program on NAEYC (also organized by specific age groups)

Friends, fresh air and free-play: The Importance of Summer Camp in the Wake of a Pandemic

The pandemic has provided challenges on a scale that none of us have seen in our lifetimes. It’s been up to us as adults to help our youth navigate this with compassion and grace in the moment while also fueling their optimism with opportunities to reconnect with meaningful people and places in their lives — like summer camp.

Sometimes it takes the smallest of assurances, like playing outside, tossing a ball, riding bikes, taking a hike, having a snack together while the leaves rustle in the breeze that can do the best talking and offer the best reassurance.

Summer Camp is important not just for kids who need to get back to nature, but for parents who have pulled double and triple duty as unexpected homeschooling teachers this past year. Parents will need to refill their cups, and healthy time apart from our kids can help us refuel this coming summer as we get ready for the Fall 2021 school year.

In this episode, we interview two Catalyst employees who are intimately familiar with the magic and benefits of summer camp.

  • Ronnie Hanks, Senior Manager for Catalyst Camps
  • Kassie Vargas, Assistant Site Supervisor for Catalyst Kids and former Catalyst Camp Manager

Learn more about Catalyst Camps at, or contact Ronnie directly with questions about Catalyst Camp:

Doing Less to bring More Peace to your Family in 2021 with Mary Van Geffen

We all want our home to be a sanctuary from the stress and demands of the world – a place where our child’s play is encouraged and social/emotional development is protected. Yet, often, we find ourselves white-knuckling it through the drama of unexplainable meltdowns and wildly inappropriate behavior that make parenting So Not Fun.

Join Simplicity Parenting Counselor® Mary Van Geffen to learn how choosing Simplicity in 4 key areas can give your child the space they need to tantrum less and come back to calm:

· The Environment

· Rhythm & Predictable Transitions

· Your Schedule

· Media/Screens

Listen to the episode for ideas of small doable changes you can make to support your child’s mental health and make parenting a whole lot easier.

How to Stay Calm when Your Child is Acting Crazy. 

A downloadable step-by-step process for how to regulate yourself for less yelling and more calm.

Connect with Mary on Instagram @maryvangeffen and on her website:

Shine Podcast Introduction

Welcome to Shine, a child, and youth development podcast. As we push into the New Year, we’ll share helpful parenting resources and advice, interview experts, and dive into relevant issues such as how to find quality childcare, the importance of play, virtual learning, and more.

Click here to follow the podcast.