Melissa Charles picture
Melissa Charles

Melissa Charles

I am a student at Bunker Hill Community College pursuing my associate degree. However, this fall I will transfer to Smith College and study economics.

I was born in Geneva Switzerland and left the country at age three. By the time I started kindergarten in the United States, French and Haitian Creole were my first languages. As a child. I was not celebrated for my multilingual abilities. In fact, compared to my peers, I was seen as having a deficit. Fortunately, I learned English quickly, and within a few months, I had completely adapted.

During my internship at Strategies for Children (SFC), I have been carrying my early childhood experience with me. I am interested in early education and care that includes a focus on emerging multi-language learners and on families who rely heavily on assistance programs and would benefit from supportive, grassroots policies.

In my policy and advocacy work, I hope to grow SFC’s social media presence through outreach and campaigns, drawing on my experience as a marketing intern for my hometown of Stoneham, Mass. Through my work with the SFC team, I hope to advance budget and policy ideas that may have not been prioritized in the past.

Additionally, I want to increase my understanding of fiscal policy, the cost of living for families, and the state budget process for addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. I plan to study how child care affects women of color who are in the workforce and are often the breadwinners in their homes.

Fun Fact: My eight-year-old brother took this photo of me last spring.


Erica Robison
Erica Robison

Erica Robison

I’m a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame, where I major in History and minor in Educational Studies. I began to realize the critical importance of early care and education when I took a course on the subject during my sophomore year, and I’m thrilled to be taking a closer look at the field this summer at Strategies for Children.

As I searched for summer opportunities earlier this year, I was drawn to SFC because of its commitment to advocacy and connecting people across the early care and education landscape. During my time at Strategies, I’m focusing on family supports like the Department of Early Education and Care’s Child Care Search tool as well as family resource centers across Massachusetts.

I am studying resources in Massachusetts and other states so that I can make recommendations for enhancing them to improve families’ experiences. By keeping up with child care news, compiling SFC’s weekly press roundup emails, and sitting in on Zoom meetings and webinars, I’m already learning about the legislative process, innovative policies, and child care infrastructure.

Beyond Strategies, I hope to further my education by attending law school and pursuing a career in child advocacy. I’m curious about the intersections between education and child welfare, and I’d like to be a part of the process of crafting structures, legislation, and safety nets that enable all children and families to succeed.

While I love working with children on an individual basis — as a swim coach in my hometown of Bethesda, Md., and as a tutor in South Bend — I’m excited to pursue my advocacy goals on a system-wide level.