Rebecca Cannara grew up in Northern California and received her BA in Anthropology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She also studied in Central America and France, with a focus on community-building and social services. Following volunteer work with the homeless in Paris, France, Rebecca worked with homeless youth in Portland, Oregon and trained in mediation. In 1999, Rebecca and her husband, Noah, moved to San Francisco where she continued doing social work, trained in domestic violence counseling, and eventually came to run an emergency shelter for homeless families in San Mateo County. Rebecca presently works in online education for Agile Mind, a company that strives to bridge achievement gaps in mainstream education.
In 2004, after moving to Santa Monica, Rebecca and her first daughter wandered over to the YWCA to attend mommy and me classes. "Meeting Barbara Olinger changed how we approached parenting for life. We grew from clueless to thoughtful parents and are so grateful for Barbara's work with families in our community." Her oldest daughter attended the Venice Parents Daycare and Preschool (VPDP), a cooperative school founded by Barbara Olinger and other families over 20 years ago. Rebecca and Noah fell in love with the cooperative experience, with all of its ups and downs, and found that their daughter thrived in that environment. When the school planned to close, they decided to work with their good friend Michelle Nilsson to find a new opportunity for the cooperative preschool to continue and so that their toddlers could attend. In 2011, coming full circle, the preschool has found a new home with Barbara Olinger's A Place for Parents program at the YWCA.
"We are so grateful to all of the parents at the YWCA who have come together to create fundraisers and literally build a school from scratch using their own elbow grease and great ideas. Many parents have taken on roles they've never had before to get the job done, especially our incredible members of the preschool's Parent Advisory Board. Along with Director Nina Moench, these dedicated parents have put in countless hours of their time to build a very special school for children in our community. The family cooperative preschool would not be here without them. Thank you!"