Our Story


The Progressive Educational Resource Services Story

Hello, my name is Jane Hamilton, I am the Executive Director of PERS. As I travel around the globe, I am always afforded the opportunity to talk about PERS and the same question is always asked of me, “Why do you invest so much of your time in a non-profit for children and families although there have been extraordinarily little resources to support our effort? I thought it would be fitting to tell “Our Story” in the best way I know how.

We never walk our path alone. Somewhere in our journey we meet others – some stay forever, some for a brief time, and others not at all. I found in my life, I struggled at this thing called life while navigating between two cultures – My West Indian culture and the Western culture. I had to learn to figure out my own path with little favor and guidance while dealing with discrimination and others implicit biases towards me as native Jamaican Black woman. 

I was getting pretty use to doors closing and people saying “no” to me, so I learned not to ask for anything or have grand expectations from others, only because it yielded disappointments and heartaches. All I knew was that I had in my head and my heart- a big dream and a vision of something larger than myself. I did not understand nor was I even sure it would even come to fruition. 

But the word “legacy” stayed with me throughout my life, even though I did not personally know it nor had experienced it in my own lineage. I knew a legacy required a goal and a plan, which took perseverance, determination, resources, and like-minded individuals to obtain it. We are never “self-made.” There are always people who make valuable contributions in our lives in so many ways. 

Ten years ago, I sat in a moderate size chicken and waffle eatery with a woman named Michelle who has become my best friend and confidant. We both talked about our frustrations with the educational system and the disenfranchisement of the most vulnerable communities, which typically equated to Black and Brown children and their families. We talked about how these children were not making enough gains academically, which impacted their self-esteem, confidence, and left their parents and caregivers feeling frustrated and sometimes hopeless because they did know how to advocate for their children. 

Michelle and I talked about how we had become increasingly exacerbated with the bureaucracy of having to always be agreeable and resist advocating for children. All while knowing, that children were not getting the best educational and mental health access or services. We saw that education and mental health services were too sterile and molded into a one-size-fits all for every child and their families.

PERS Director


Hello, my name is Jane Hamilton. Over the years, I have become a well-known advocate for children and families whose experience spans over 25 years. Working with the most vulnerable families fueled my passion to launch this incredible non-profit called Progressive Educational Resource Services, better known as PERS.

The Journey to PERS was born out of my extensive work as a Social Worker, School Psychologist and a Licensed Educational Psychologist. The more I worked with children, the more I was confronted with the daily struggles of children and families from lacking the basic essentials, access to appropriate educational and mental health resources.

The mission through PERS is simple – to motivate children and get them excited about learning so they thrive in their academic journey and to empower families to advocate for the necessities to help their children and decrease their frustration. 

I believe that interventions have been too sterile and molded into a one-size-fits all format for every child, thus forsaking their individualized needs. As a result, I noticed that families were left feeling weary, overwhelmed and worried about the lack of gains their child was making.

Additionally, I witnessed how politics in education and in the school setting diminished the capacity for flexibility and creativity created by limited funding, lack of quality and staff experience, as well as an over-arching theme of minimal investment in the special education community. 

Through examination of “Why”, I searched for ways that “WE” as a Team could make a difference. I worked tirelessly for families by assisting to find more opportunities and help to restore parents’ confidence in educators and the education system. The PERS Team and I figured out that we would meet children and families at their baseline and build from that foundation.

The PERS program was designed with the idea of changing the trajectory of lives by tackling literacy, life skills, and the social and emotional functioning of the most vulnerable populations. 

Because of this life-long work and advocacy for families and children, I prepared myself for the challenge by carefully selecting and working with a team of qualified educators, wellness specialists and support staff who collaborate with other educators and community agencies from a holistic perspective.

I know that serving under-privileged, vulnerable populations is an ambitious mission, but I have risen to the challenge and have made the investment – One child at a time to produce a positive impact. 

PERS Administrator

My name is Jacquelyn Smith, I am working with Progressive Educational Resource Services I hope to successfully provide operational and strategic leadership when casting vision, developing philanthropic initiatives, and managing financial strategies. In addition, I plan on Continually develop and implement strong strategic partnerships resulting in a successful mission of engaging and positively affecting the youth and our community.

In previous years, I have commanded responsibility over the daily operations of managing my virtual assistant service company, providing resumes, cover letters, online profiles, spreadsheet creation using Microsoft office suite services, website set up and assistance and biographies for professionals within a variety of industries in multiple states throughout United States for several.

I worked in education for 24 years where I reported to Director of Information Technology and four Administrators. During the duration of my time working in education I had several years of training and certification in various technology courses. I served in the position of office manager, web administrator and  district instructor teaching Microsoft Office suite classes to administrators, staff, parents, and community.  I was the main point of content for the director ,administrators which meant I also assisted a myriad  of educators, facilitators, staff, school officials, policymakers, parents, and more. My years of experience, coupled with specialized expertise and people skills, have proved to be extremely effective in helping the administrators navigate their professional courses smoothly and efficiently.

My goal working with the PERS nonprofit is to help cultivate & developed holistic approaches to mentoring, coaching & equipping underemployed youth in any way I can. Their mission: The mission of PROGRESSIVE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE SERVICES is to provide education and behavior interventions and reactive strategies to public, private and non-public schools, based on the specific needs of a child, in order that the child can access the school curriculum and achieve the highest level of success.  

I am honored to be a part of a team that is dedicated to uplifting, empowering, and educating youth — particularly young people of color geographically. Growing up in California, I have seen many young people fall short of their potential because of the lack of high-quality education. I know that PERS is working tirelessly to stop that occurrence, and that makes me proud.

PERS Leadership Coordinator

 About the Leadership Coordinator

Her higher educational journey began in 1994 at Union Institute & University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. In 1996, Michelle pursued both a special education teaching credential (mild/moderate disabilities) and master’s degree in Special Education from California State University Dominquez Hills, CSUDH. In 2000, she was hired as a special education teacher in Los Angeles, California at one of Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) notable “Ten Schools Program” sites.  The Ten Schools’ mission was to increase reading and writing literacy among African American students in targeted communities. 

After working at the elementary level for several years, Michelle became a Resource Specialist Teacher and Special Education Coordinator for an innovative charter school in Watts, California. The school’s mission was to provide a world class education to the children living in community. It was there she met and forged a lasting friendship and working relationship with her mentor, Jane Hamilton of Charter’s Choice Educational Services, CCES. Michelle remained at the charter school for eight years before returning to Los Angeles Unified School District to teach children with Autism. 

Michelle eventually retired from the District to pursue her interests in leadership, program coordination, case management, and specialized academic instruction for Charter’s Choice Educational Services and Progressive Educational Resource Services, PERS.                 

The PERS Team

M. Myers J. Hamilton J. Smith

Leadership Coordinator Founder Administrator

Academic and Wellness Team

Christianne Cardriche

PERS Fundraiser Administrator

Sylvonna Smith

PERS Youth Ambassador

Tiera Bridges

Hi, my name is Tiera Bridges, and I am excited to be the PERS Youth Ambassador. It is an honor to be invited to represent diverse youth in the state of California. My mission is to share my experiences in the PERS 2019 Summer Holistic Enrichment Program and to encourage all youths to play a proactive role in their own neighborhoods. Together, we can uplift one another, one young person at a time. Thank you.      

The SHEP Team 2020

From Left to Right: Tiana Comeaux, Chenelle Keyes, Tiara Bridges, Christopher Espina, Grace Chang and Jane Hamilton

The Mission

PERS seeks to dissect the complexity of teaching literacy, life skills and mental wellness to the most vulnerable communities. The primary purpose of PERS is to train educators and auxiliary members to transmit knowledge and empower families. 

Mission Poem

                     My daily mission starts today
                   Helping kids live, learn and play
            And teaching their parents by showing them the way
                        This mission starts today
                   It’s not easy, it will be a fight
                   But every child deserves the right
                    To learn to add, read and write
                So fight we must to overcome this plight
                  So when everything seems to be a task
                       The question we all must ask
                Are we satisfied when we look in the past
             Or do we want the Bright eyes of a child to last
                          So struggle on we must
                  Til all is gone and there’s no more fuss
                   So play on children, there is no rush
                   All your worries will end with a hush
                      My daily mission started today
                     Thank God for showing me the way
                    To help the ones that hurt the most
                     The little ones thank you the most
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Our Vision


PERS’ vision is to foster literacy through innovative teaching and creative learning strategies.

PERS seeks to pave the way for positive system changes that will acknowledge and benefit the most vulnerable communities.

PERS envisions the education community will sustain this creative learning platform and collaborate with families from a holistic approach. 

PERS envisions the resource provided will empower families and foster a thriving community that will be academically and social- emotionally sustainable.

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We hold ourselves accountable for the quality and lasting results of our work and for the commitment we make to our participants, partners, donors, and each other.  


We elevate by challenging our participants and ourselves to reach high and go beyond the status quo and foster new perspective, unconventional ideas and approaches and dare new possibilities through innovative teaching, learning strategies; and the Ultimately lead the charge to positive system changes. 

                           Phone: (424)241-0155
                       335 E. Albertoni St #200-358
                         Carson, California 90746