Interview: JuliaCares Family Services8 March 2022 | By Lisa H
Today, we're introducing Julia Zehavi, the founder of JuliaCares - Family Services in Berlin. Julia was born and raised in Berlin and is the mother of two boys (4.5 and 8 years old). After spending some time abroad, Julia started working with families in Berlin in 2015, while on maternity leave with her second child.
She is a trained birth and postpartum doula and set up an organization to help pregnant refugees (Welcome Mamas, e.V.), before expanding her business to be a family companion from early pregnancy to high school. She also assists families with special needs kids and is always up for a challenge.
What services do you offer?
We assist families from the moment they plan their move to Berlin to the moment they let us know that they feel settled and happy. This can include registration in the municipality, Kita and school search, helping with all the small and big admin challenges around moving to Berlin to going on a shopping tour with them to find local alternatives to their favorite products from home.
How do you help parents looking for a Kita spot?
Kita search in Berlin is one of the most annoying things a parent has to do. It takes time and energy and can also be very frustrating. We take this burden off your shoulders and search for the right Kita in your neighborhood, so you can relax.
We offer full service Kita search for parents – from figuring out what kind of Kita they want, writing the letter of application to assembling a list of Kitas. We then proactively reach out to the Kitas and follow up regularly. We also go with the families to meet the Kitas and assist with the Gutschein application.
How do you approach the Kita search?
We have a large database of Kitas in Berlin, which we use in order to build a specific list for each child. We also provide monthly follow-up and the parents receive a report in a spreadsheet. We see ourselves as a very active addition to your own kita search. I think being born here sometimes makes things much easier. I feel like people like talking to me and that can make the difference.
Despite it being such a difficult process, what is an example of a positive Kita search experience for a client?
I was recently working with a family looking for a Kita spot for their son. We were invited to visit a Kita, both the mom and kid were super nervous and quite disappointed when the Kita manager told us that they had no spots until 2020. But then, just one week later, she emailed us saying they had a spot in 2019 after all. Being able to pass on such good news to a family makes my work super special and the time and effort we invest worthwhile.
Finally, what are your top 3 tips for finding a Kita in Berlin?
Throw a big fishing net and contact many kitas in your area.
Read the websites to see what kind of application they each want, letter vs. online form vs. download form.
Be open minded, i.e. bilingual vs. German-only Kita.
AND when you find a spot, please tell the other kitas on your list, that you already have a kita and they can take you off the list.
Thanks, Julia, for sharing your insights!
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