Sponsored Content

Maria Somera, Yu Ya Hersey, Katherine Martucci, Children First, Inc.

“Four-Time Designated Head Start Program of Excellence.”

Presented by Children First June 23, 2022

Maria Somera, Yu Ya Hersey, Katherine Martucci 

 Led by a robust collective of remarkable and resilient women, Children First envisions a vibrant community that cherishes education, provides opportunities for children and families to grow and thrive, and encourages and empowers families in supporting their children. 

Katherine Martucci is a longtime supporter, classroom volunteer, and steward of the Children First mission. As a former educator, she understands the importance of a healthy learning environment with highly qualified teachers and access to education for all. In 2021, Katherine was elected as Chair of the Board and has continued her deep commitment to those we serve as Chair Emeritus. 

As Chair of Children First’s parent-led Policy Council, Maria Somera helps guide our mission as an advocate for our children, families and staff. Originally from Mexico, Maria moved to Florida with her husband for better opportunities. The couple worked diligently to rebuild their lives, and today have three beautiful children ages 5, 3, and 10 months, and are successful business owners. 

In her role as an Early Childhood Developmental Specialist, Yu Ya Hersey serves as a site manager for our agency’s largest location, helping lead 30 staff in serving children and their families across 10 classrooms. She received her M.Ed. with a concentration in Early Childhood Education Leadership from the University of North Florida through the T.E.A.C.H. Florida Scholarship Program in 2021. 

Having displayed trailblazing leadership throughout the pandemic and beyond, all three women are vital to the continued success and growth of Children First, now and into the future.  


  • Children First ranks in the top 1% of over 1,800 programs nationwide. 
  • As Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services, Children First offers high-quality, comprehensive services to hundreds of at-risk children and families annually at 15 locations. 
  • Our mission is to strengthen children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and wellbeing. 
  • 83 percent of families enrolled live at or below the Federal Poverty Level, which is just $23,030 for a family of three, and receive comprehensive services at little to no cost. 
  • Our award-winning Families First Institute offers free courses to parents and the public including parenting, budgeting and career readiness to help families achieve self-sufficiency and success.

1723 N. Orange Ave.  

Sarasota, FL 34234 
(941) 953-3877