Alyssa Cesarini is the founder and CEO of Innovative Youth Care in Edgewater, NJ, a full-service, outsourced solution to finding your perfect nanny. With an advanced degree in Mental Health Counseling, over five years of experience as a nanny to CC Sabithia’s four children, and a passion to change the landscape of connecting families with caregivers, Alyssa, a soon-to-be Licensed Professional Counselor for children and families in New Jersey, is on a mission to help families find the most caring, well-trained, professional childcare in the tri-state area.
I had the pleasure of talking to Alyssa about building her agency, her passion for supporting special needs children, and her favorite New Jersey businesses.
Alyssa’s Innovative Approach to Finding the Perfect Nanny
(NJ Mom) How did you come up with the idea of Innovative Youth Care?
(Alyssa) After being the nanny for 5 years to Yankees pitcher CC Sabathias’ four children, I learned what it meant to be a valuable resource for a family. I was lucky enough to work with a family who truly appreciated my commitment to excellence in childcare, and we worked together as a team to ensure the happiness and growth of their children.
During my time with the Sabathias’, I met a lot of other nannies and families also looking for the perfect nanny/ family situation. I had listened to mothers vent about going through multiple nannies and finally settling because they desperately needed help. Most of the parents were using the Internet or staffing agencies to find their help and being sent a string of nannies that may have had experience, however, didn’t mesh with the family. I began wondering how I could help these families and caregivers. Once I did my research and witnessed “the staffing agency experience” the vision for Innovative Youth Care became clear to me.
Most staffing agencies never meet the children they are providing care for, instead they match nannies based on generalized questionnaires and brief phone interviews with parents. In addition, the large price tag you pay for this service can take months to yield an actual fit for your family, and that’s not guaranteed. I created Innovative Youth Care on the principle of using a personalized approach to finding a caregiver by conducting in-home assessments, needs-based training and personality assessment matching when scouting to find the “best fit” for your family.
(NJ Mom) What inspired you to get into this business?
(Alyssa) The lessons I learned as a nanny and throughout my career could fill volumes and is the driving inspiration behind my business. I am especially grateful for the time I spent at The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, a therapeutic nursery school, in Tenafly, NJ, and the exceptional children they provide for. While working as a nanny and a shadow for one of the children I worked for, I took notice of the lack of love and enthusiasm other nannies had for their jobs. I, on the other hand, was sharing this duty with parents who were invested in their child’s well-being and progress developmentally. We worked as a team and we communicated without hesitation; we were invested in this together. On a daily basis, I felt grateful for being with a family that respected me and treated me like family. They were rewarding and generous and I reciprocated by being the best nanny they could ask for. They were an easy family to love and they loved me right back!
My experiences, along with my education, have shaped my philosophy and inspired me to form a mission rooted in the conscious caretaking of children. All families deserve to have a caring, experienced nanny and all nannies deserve to work for a family that values them. The feeling I get from seeing satisfied parents and caretakers is indescribable, but seeing children excited about their new nanny, is what keeps me truly inspired!
(NJ Mom) What’s your background/ education in your area of expertise?
(Alyssa) My first degree was in English & Journalism. I graduated from Penn State with exceptional vocabulary and writing skills, but my aspirations were short lived as reality sunk in: the PR industry in NYC was cut-throat. I was fighting to maintain my ethics and integrity as a writer. Then one day when I’d had enough, I resigned. I returned home to do some soul searching and revisit my earlier choices. It wasn’t long before I remembered that I had gone into journalism hoping to impact society through my work. The only problem was I had neglected to account for my desire to help people on a personal level. I wanted to help others better themselves and build lasting, loving relationships. I wanted to inspire people – children specifically – to be true to themselves and others. I wanted to provide the same support and conscious care that I had been fortunate enough to receive throughout my own life. It was then I returned to school and earned my second B.A., this time in psychology. Around this time, a friend mentioned that a high-profile family she knew was searching for childcare. It wasn’t long before I signed on as nanny for the spirited children of Yankees Pitcher CC Sabathia and his wife, Amber. They had just relocated to the New York metropolitan area, were cautiously juggling their fast paced life, and wanted to ensure their children would experience a smooth transition. I accepted the title of nanny with a little hesitation as I had never envisioned myself in such a role, but soon felt an overwhelming sense of fulfillment and purpose. I was invested in these children: driven not only by the desire to see them succeed, but to thrive. I then continued my education and attained my masters in mental health counseling through Capella University online. I will be a licensed professional counselor for children and families in the state of New Jersey as of June 2015. My goal is to offer in-home counseling to my clients and parents who are looking for professional guidance in our community. My education in psychology has had a huge impact on my approach to this business because of the ethical standards I abide by and their alignment with my everyday life. This synergy has given me insight and purpose in my path to changing the way families find the best care for their children.
(NJ Mom) What makes your business different from other nanny companies?
(Alyssa) Innovative Youth Care conducts in-home assessments, where we meet families first and engage with them on a personal level, before we even consider candidates for the job. Considering my expertise in the field, I have the ability to match families based off of the personalities and needs of the children and others in the home, including parents. I also have the ability to train our nannies personally to ensure they are committed to doing what they love to the best of their ability. This approach is proven to avoid a string of nannies being sent to your home and enduring the dreaded process of finding a nanny through other impersonal staffing agencies and internet outlets. I also offer special needs training for nannies working with families that have children with special needs.
(NJ Mom) Who/ What type of parent would benefit from your services?
(Alyssa) Any parent looking for a nanny! Busy parents, parents that have children with special needs, parents looking for a long-term commitment from a nanny, and families that believe in the need for socially conscious businesses, such as mine. Also, I do work with many high-profile families by offering my moral obligation and commitment as a consultant and counselor, to confidentiality and privacy.
(NJ Mom) What’s the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/ role model) ever gave to you?
(Alyssa) My mother has always said,
Don’t judge others because you have no idea what they are going through. Someone’s circumstances should never define them, it is what is on the inside that matters and with that you should love unconditionally as a virtue.
(NJ Mom) Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why?
Small minds discuss others.
Average minds discuss events.
And big minds discuss ideas.
(Alyssa) This quote has a lot of significance to me on a very personal level. It was a challenge growing up, avoiding gossip and talking about what everyone else was doing, until I found myself. I realized talking to others was something I loved to do. I loved hearing peoples stories of experiences and ideas and this is what brought out the best in me. I love to listen to those who need an ear, simple human contact and supportive and stimulating conversation. So I decided, not to long ago, that the ideas I had been discussing were actually actionable. I was going to be the change I wanted to see in this world and by surrounding myself with like-minded individuals I am grateful and lucky to be a part of such a beautiful growing community that support my mission.
And of course we had to Alyssa about her favorite Jersey vacations spots, businesses and eateries.
(NJ Mom) Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
(Alyssa) I live in West New York, New Jersey at Port Imperial. I absolutely love this area and the beautiful NYC skyline is something I have the pleasure of witnessing day and night. This is a very family-friendly community and it’s right on the waterfront where you can enjoy restaurants, parks, and general activity on the pier daily. I love NJ and nothing beats how close I am to the shore! I visit Long Beach Island at least once a year, which is my favorite area down south.
(NJ Mom) What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
(Alyssa) My favorite businesses in New Jersey are Hudson’s House of Play, in West New York, NJ. This play space is a modern approach to imaginative play and is a space available for birthday parties and events for kids as well. This place is stellar in my book! They even have fresh baked treats available for purchase and its spotless and clearly a sanitary alternative to “Chuck e Cheese”.
The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades is another favorite of mine. This Nursery school has an amazing program for families considering early-intervention programs for their children and I have personally seen the remarkable work they do to help child overcome developmental delays. Truly inspiring place filled with love and commitment to helping children.
Kevin Veillard of UFit Republic in West New York specializes in personal training for mothers who have just had a baby and pre-natal workouts! He is genius and provides an excellent all-around workout for moms!
(NJ Mom) What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey?
(Alyssa) I love good food and good music combined! Sabor in Edgewater is the spot for that! Great food, good music, and exceptional service! The owners of this restaurant are always there and it gives you such a good feeling of community, while enjoying the best mojitos around. People come from all over to visit this place.
I love going to The Chart House, Waterside, and other delicious restaurants on the water during the summer and year round, they all have spectacular views of the city, great food, and great staff (which is what keeps me coming back)!
(NJ Mom) What are your favorite places to shop in New Jersey?
(Alyssa) My favorite places to shop are at boutiques in Hoboken or Garden State Plaza when I am feeling ambitious. I typically like things that are vintage and different so I enjoy lookin everywhere. Urban Outfitters is a great place and American Apparel in Hoboken is a great last minute stop for an unplanned outing. I also love consignment shops and vintage retailers.
(NJ Mom) Where are your favorite places to eat/ food trucks in NJ?
(Alyssa) I love to eat out and my favorite restaurant is Margheritas in Hoboken. They have the best penne vodka and a great family vibe!
Grimaldis in Hoboken is the only place I go for pizza! The ingredients are fresh and it’s the closest thing to pizza in Italy I have found.
Parents interested in learning more about Innovative Youth Care LLC can email Alyssa at Alyssa@innovativeyouthcare.com, call (570) 977-4421 or visit Innovative Youth Care LLC on NJMom.com for more information.