Sunshine Daycare

Berkeley, CA

To see Department of Social Services records on this facility, click on its DSS Facility License # below.

Home-Based Daycare/Preschool
DSS Facility License #
Sara Mendez
510-548-2815, 510-334-7956
sunshinedaycareberkeley [at]
S. Berkeley, between Sacramento and San Pablo, one street away from Ashby
Maximum Capacity:
Language(s) Spoken:

Parent Reviews

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My son will be going to preschool in August, and Sunshine has some spots opening up so want to recommend this for anyone who needs care 8am-5pm in a loving, warm home environment. Something that was very helpful for me is that after they are 12mo Sara feeds them all their snacks and meals and my kids both are very easy eaters who will try things, I think this has a lot to do with how well she cooks and how many different foods they get exposed to. For the little ones you provide your own milk/formula and whatever baby food you prefer. Her home has a beautiful outdoor space and the kids spend lots of time playing outside, also singing, and they both my kids have very sweet friendships from their time at Sunshine. I've loved Sunshine and am really going to miss it and recommend it highly!! You can read more about Sunshine on BPN or here: and fill out that form to connect with Sara.

My son is currently at Sunshine and my daughter (who is now in preschool) still talks about it! My kids (each attended from 6 months old) always have such smiles on their faces both at drop off and pickup which has always felt so wonderful to me. I love that it's family run, and in such a warm, lovely home with such a gorgeous back yard (the kids spend lots of time playing outside, which I love!) Sara really focuses on the kids having healthy naps and lots of sleep which I love, and lets me know when they are starting to be ready to transition from 3 naps to 2 to 1 so that we can keep a similar schedule on weekends. We really love everything about Sunshine, the fact that they provide all the food once the kids turn 1 (we would provide them with our formula and baby food before that), are so caring and warm towards our kids, communicate very clearly, and the backyard is such a kid wonderland. I found out about Sunshine through a friend whose daughter went and really loved it, and I feel so glad. It's been the perfect place for our kids.

I can't say enough positive things about Sunshine! My son attended for about a year, from 15 - 27 months old. All of his basic needs was well taken care of: the teachers helped him learn to nap there super quickly, and not only that, they helped his naps get much longer and more restful; and they provided all lunch and snacks. In addition, the teachers were warm and caring and gave him with the secure, loving caregiver relationships that I wanted for him. It was so fun discovering what new songs, dances, and other skills he picked up during his time there. I also appreciated how Sara makes everything very easy for the parents. Her policies are simple and straightforward and communication with her was direct and easy. We will miss Sara, Czarina, and Marina very much!

Sunshine is great! Sara, Marina and Czarina have created such an amazing, fun, clean place. I sent my daughter there from when she was about 8 months to just over three and my son has been going since he was 5 months and is still attending. Sara is super experienced and I absolutely feel like I am in good hands with her.  Both kiddos loved going there— would always happily walk right in at drop off. I love that it’s family run, and Sara was a great resource for me as a first time mom, and it’s so helpful that they provide lunch too! I’ve noticed that the parents who send their kids there are pretty cool too, which is an added bonus for get togethers outside of daycare. 

Our son attended Sunshine from 4 months to just a little over 3 years. It is an amazing space. My son would happily walk in without giving us a second glance or even waving goodbye. It gave us such peace of mind to know that he was well-cared for, happy and engaged during the day. Sometimes it felt like weekends or holidays would go off the rails: no naps, picky eating, crazy bedtimes -- it was a relief to know my son would at least nap and eat consistently at Sunshine. Sara is calm, patient and experienced, and her space is incredible: the home is kid-friendly and her backyard is huge and has fantastic play structures. I also appreciate that she serves lunch! I learned that other families on the street have also sent their kids to Sunshine, which gives me comfort that it's such a staple in the neighborhood. 

We went to a small in home daycare in Berkeley that my daughter absolutely loved. Its close to Ashby so it might be a bit out of the area for you. Sunshine Daycare They were very loving

My son has been attending Sunshine Daycare for two years, since he was five months old. Sara has built an amazing community at Sunshine. My son is always so happy to see her and her mother Marina each morning and comes home well rested and well fed. I am particularly grateful these days for the care she takes to create a safe and clean space for the children in her care; she wears a mask, has parents drop off/pick up kids at the door without going inside, and the kids spend much of the day in her large backyard. Sara has a particular knack for getting kiddos to take long, restful naps -- something my sleep-deprived self particularly loved when he was a baby and not napping for longer than 30 minutes at a time! My son is now moving on to preschool and we will miss Sara and her family dearly. I can't recommend her and her wonderful daycare enough.

Our daughter absolutely loves being at Sunshine! Each day she gets ready to go school, she lights up and talks about her teachers and friends. The facility is very clean. Sara and Marina are nurturing and kind, and everyone seems peaceful, happy, and loving. The backyard area is huge and they all love to play back there. One of the best things has been the provided lunch and snacks which means I don’t have to worry about packing something and I know they are eating nutritious food (like beans and rice, my daughter’s favorite). I would highly recommend the school! Finding a great place for your child to spend their days is the most satisfying feeling. I have enjoyed knowing my daughter is in great hands. 

My daughter attended Sunshine Daycare as a baby until she was ready to advance to Preschool with her older brother. I am so grateful for the nurturing and loving care my daughter received at Sunshine. I have unfortunately had to go through several different daycares and nanny-shares before finding Sunshine. I can say based on this experience, Sunshine is of exceptional quality, professionalism, and care. Young children are kept in similar aged groups. The indoor play area has an adorable selection of age-appropriate toys and soft padded floors for beginning walkers. The spacious, shaded, and peaceful yard is better than any park. The kids are fed homemade and nutritious food. Sara is very attentive to the children and we could tell that Sara and our daughter have a special bond. Our daughter was always happy to be handed off to Sara, and at pick-up she was always in clean clothes (often the same clothes she was dropped off in) and had a clean diaper. I recommend Sunshine to any parent looking for a high-quality, safe and loving daycare for their child.

Sara and Marina's Sunshine Daycare is a treasure. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to enroll our child there. Sara and Marina are experienced, warm, calm care providers who skillfully take care of a wide range of kiddos. The kids clearly have a wonderful time at Sunshine and develop adorable friendships. For our family, some of the biggest pluses were: 1) Spanish language exposure, 2) homemade food provided, and 3) an amazing big open backyard and covered porch area for the kids to play in. Our kids have attended a handful of different daycares over the past years, and Sunshine stands out for how smoothly and simply (in a good way!) things run. Thank you Sara and Marina! 

Both of my kids went to Sunshine, and we miss it now that they have aged out. Sara and Marina are so loving, both kids were always very happy to go to daycare. They are both highly experienced with babies and toddlers and gave us so much help as parents working through various developmental and behavioral issues, and  I knew that my kids were safe and well cared for, and that they were having fun in Sara's bright, clean house and amazing backyard. She also gave them great lunches and snacks (many mornings at drop off, delicious smells of Sara's cooking would come wafting out the front door and I knew my kids were having a better lunch than I was). Sunshine is a loving, nurturing and safe environment and we are so grateful to Sara and her family for taking such great care of our kids when they were little! 

My son went to Sunshine from August 2018 to November 2019, 1-2.5.  It was an exceptional experience.  She started him on a two nap schedule, in the nap room which has cribs.  Then when he was ready to do 1 nap with the older kids, she started by snuggling with him on the floor (they sleep on crib mattresses), until he got the hang of it.  I honestly thought that would not be possible, but he made the transition and had good naps.  She worked with his picky food preferences.  She taught him how to be gentle with babies.  And he just got so much love and nurture there.  We feel very grateful to Sara and her whole family.  Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Sunshine was the most amazing place for my two kids. Sunshine was in our family for almost four years -both of my kids attended from the time they were six months old until they were two and half. I couldn’t have imagined a better start to their education. Sara and Marina are absolutely wonderful with the kids -it feels like they were a second family to both my kids. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions at all. 

Sunshine has been a part of our family since our daughter was 4.5 months old and our son was 6 months old. In my search for a daycare before going back to work, Sunshine stood out as being clean, nurturing, and an amazing space for our little ones to play and grow. A plus was home cooked meals! Sara and Marina loved our kids as their own and the relationships that they built with the kids were priceless. There were so many warm hugs, laughs, and happy smiles when they arrived at the door or left for the day. After both pregnancies, we were so grateful and relieved to know that each of them would be in good hands. Sunshine also helped us through so many milestones in the kids’ lives - bottles, potty training, eating solids, early learning, etc. They were extremely supportive of any requests  we had and had a vested interest in the kids’ development. We feel extremely lucky to call the Mendezes family and would recommend Sunshine in a heartbeat.

Our daughter attended Sunshine from 18mo-2 years. She enjoyed herself and grew so much in the time that she was there. Sara and Marina are extremely trustworthy, dependable and professional. We didn't hesitate to leave our daughter in such caring hands. Sara's home is very clean, she feeds the children healthy foods and the yard is an amazing space for the kids. Nearly 4 months later, our daughter still asks to go back to "la casa de Sara"! 

Our son attended Sunshine from 4 months old until 2 years. We have so many great things to say about Sunshine - love, professionalism, convenience to name a few. Our son was always happy at drop-off and pickup times. From the very beginning I felt complete confidence that he was in good hands. Really nice to have consistency of caretakers - Sara and her mom Marina, and sometimes Sara’s daughter. I couldn’t imagine more convenience - all you have to bring is milk and bottles (if kid still using a bottle), and Sunshine takes care of washing the bottles, and provides lunch for kids who eat solids. Heads up, the contract has a zero tolerance biting policy. Overall we were very happy with Sunshine and will be sending our next kid there. A spot opened up early at Little Own School (Sara’s other daughter’s preschool nearby) for our son.

Sunshine and Tia Sara are like family. We felt super comfortable leaving our little one at the program from day one. Very clean and well organized. The whole house is set up specifically for the child care; very professional. They have an amazing back yard with a play structure (no need to go to a park!) and plenty of room for the kids to run around. They feed the kids which is a huge plus and their sleep schedule works like clockwork. Would recommend it to everyone!!

I sent my lovely and LIVELY daughter to Sunshine, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about this place. I work with children myself, and the most important thing to me when looking for a child care placement was a location where my child could engage in both gross play as well as tabletop or fine motor play. Sunshine has an amazing outdoor structure, as well as a fully covered patio (with a ball pit!!), ensuring that my very active kid always had outside time, rain or shine. In addition, the amazing teachers became like family to my little girl, and she still talks about them. Our family loved it so much that we ended up sending our daughter to their day school, Little Owl (which is also a gem). My only reservation with recommending Sunshine is that there won’t be an opening when our next kiddo is born:). 

I've sent two of my children to Sunshine, both starting at the very young age of 9 weeks old. Sara, her mother and her daughter-in-law have provided an incredibly safe, nurturing, and fun environment for my girls over the years. I worked closely with Sara through the breast milk phase, supplementing with formula when needed, transitioning to cow's milk and solid foods. Sara worked with me on potty training, transitioning away from bottles, and behavioral issues that came up. She was always straight-forward, honest and readily available to partner on any skill acquisition or transition that came up. I always felt respected and that my concerns and desires were being addressed and met. 

After both girls transitioned out, there were times that I needed supplemental care here or there. When Sara was free for an ad hoc babysitting session, my girls were always delighted to go back and "play with Sara". They would fly into her arms for a giant hug and not want to leave when I came to pick them up. For me this is the best testament to the staying power of the experience my girls had at Sunshine. They felt comfortable and loved, while I felt that my parenting needs were being met and reinforced. 

We had a wonderful experience at Sunshine for nearly 2 years. Sara and her family create a loving and safe environment for babies and young toddlers. We appreciated immediately the security of the home (entrance is through a locked gate), the crawl-safe floors, and the sparkling clean toys. They worked very well with our pumped milk supply at first and helped introduce cows milk, sippy cups, and solid food when the time came. We also loved that the kids get outside every day. They have play space on their covered back porch, so they get out rain or shine.

It should also be pointed out that the kids mostly hear Spanish at Sunshine, making it a great start to bilingual education. As the kids approach 2, they start working on letters and songs. And you'll know your child is getting loving, personal attention when they come home with intricate hairdos! All in all, Sunshine was a great place to start our little girl.

My daughter attended Sunshine for two years, and my son has now been there for nine months.  I wholeheartedly recommend Sunshine to anyone who is looking for daycare.  We started our daughter at a different daycare that I was not thrilled about when I first went back to work, and one month later found ourselves scrambling for a new place.  I knew I loved Sunshine the second I walked in.  The house is clean and organized and completely set up for children's play.  Sara and Marina are wonderful with the children, and my kids love them both very much.  I felt very supported by Sara in meeting my breastfeeding/pumping goals, which were very important to me.  I love that my children both learned Spanish, and was surprised at how much structured learning Sara and Marina do with kids at such a young age.  My kids learn so much there, from colors to counting in two languages to shapes and more.  They also feed the kids healthy snacks and lunch, which is such a huge help.  Not having to pack lunches is amazing.  At Sunshine, I know my kids are safe and well cared for, and I am respected as a parent.  It really couldn't get much better than Sunshine.  I am so grateful to have found Sara and Marina, and anyone is lucky to get a spot there.

When we first moved to the East Bay I visited many daycares to find care for my 2 year old. Sunshine stood out immediately. The house is bright, clean, and filled with toys and activities for babies and small children. There is a huge backyard and deck so the kids spend a lot of time playing outside. Sara and Marina have a loving relationship with the kids. Sara provides lunch and two snacks. My daughter now eats a much wider variety of foods since everyone eats together. It is so helpful to have lunch provided. When I went back to work after my second daughter was born I felt completely comfortable leaving my baby with Sara. She's been great in helping us take care of our kids, from nail trimming to hair care to cradle cap treatment. My younger daughter has food allergies and Sara has gone above and beyond to make sure my daughter is kept safe and able to eat with the other children. Her days with Sara and Marina have helped her to become confident, responsible, and bilingual. We will be sending our third child to Sunshine when I go back to work. I highly recommend Sunshine Daycare.

Since I wrote my first recommendation for Sunshine Daycare, my second daughter attended it (even though we moved further away to North Berkeley). Both of my daughters were there from about 4-6 months old till they went to preschool at 2.5. Sara, her mother Marina, her husband Carlos, her son Sergio, and the rest of the family were like a second family to my children. Sara and Marina had so much love for my daughters (and vice versa), it still makes me tear up to think about how lucky we were to have found them. We felt like they were almost better cared for there than at home! Naptime was so easy at Sara's with the completely darkened bedrooms and music, and kids being able to sleep as long as they wanted. Even if we had a busy, rough weekend with skipped naps, we knew they would fall right back into their good, healthy routine on Monday at Sara's. They would come home well-fed, well-rested, and with their hair beautifully done into intricate styles that they loved almost every day. Both of my daughters became fully bilingual even though we don't speak Spanish at home, and my second daughter is now attending Centro Vida, a Spanish immersion preschool and has had no problems from day 1 communicating with her teachers and Spanish-speaking classmates. Sara has the best, biggest, greenest yard I have ever seen of any daycare--it's a double-lot yard with a nice big play structure in the grassy lawn surrounded by a bike/trike path around the perimeter. She has a sand pit and a water table. A brand new very spacious and covered shady deck overlooks the yard, with a special padded flooring and a play house, kids' snack table and balls/toys on it. Indoor and outdoor, the surroundings are always spotless and bright.

I wholeheartedly recommend Sunshine Daycare--their love and genuine concern for the children, their experience, patience and sense of humor in caring for them, and their work ethic is just unparalleled, not to mention all the homemade food that the kids love and the beautiful yard. My daughters still ask about when they will get to go to Sara's next and look forward to the occasional school holiday that they get to spend there. If you're looking for a grandma's/auntie's house kind of place where your kids learn self-care skills, good manners, two languages, and sharing / getting along with others ranging from babies to preschoolers, as well as develop their gross and fine motor skills through outdoor play, indoor toys, puzzles and games, and arts and crafts, check out Sunshine Daycare.

I'd be happy to discuss further via email or phone.
[email protected]

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2014

I'd like to share my heartfelt recommendation for Sunshine Daycare, a fantastic place for babies and toddlers in south Berkeley. After my second baby was born, I had to go back to work sooner than I would have liked, and was really anxious about sending a nine-week-old baby into the world. We fell in love with Sunshine as soon as we visited. The daycare is run by Sara Mendez, a lovely woman who radiates warmth and caring. Sara's home is transformed into a child's paradise. The floors are paved with brightly-colored foam and filled with all sorts of toys and books for the children to explore. Sara's mother, Marina, is there every day to help. The back deck and backyard have been converted into play areas by Sara's husband, a contractor with an eye for fun. Sara was an expert with expressed milk, with working with us to introduce solids, and with helping us raise a child from a tiny baby to a walking and talking child.

Our baby left Sara's over the winter to join her sister at pre-school. This summer, Sara took her back during the break. We weren't sure if our girl would remember Sara, but as soon as she opened the door, our now-toddler leapt into Sara's arms and gave her a ten-minute squeeze hug she would not let go of. That's when I knew I needed to write this recommendation.

Aug 2014

My daughter went to Sunshine for almost two years and now my son is attending. It is a warm, loving environment run by Sara and her mother Marina out of Sara's home. The inside is safe with tons of toys and learning activities and there is a huge backyard with shaded porch and a play structure. My daughter learned Spanish there and I am excited for my son to learn as well. I completely trust Sunshine to care for my children as if they were their own. If you are looking for a small, home based daycare with nurturing caregivers, I encourage you to check out Sunshine.

Sept 2013

Our son is just finishing up a wonderful year a half with Sara Mendez at Sunshine Daycare (headed off to preschool). I recommend Sunshine whole- heartedly. We and our son have loved it. Sara is caring and loving, and helped our son feel happy and comfortable there right off the bat.

The house is large, very clean, has tons of toys and activities-- all arranged so kids can get out and clean up their own supplies. Our son learned much better manners at Sunshine than we ever would have accomplished on our own, learned to share well, clean up his own toys...They even helped us with things like clipping our son's nails and brushing his hair when he wouldn't let us do it! They feed the kids great healthy meals, have a huge backyard with playground equipment (really like a private park). We are working to raise our son bilingually and his Spanish has progressed very well during his time at Sunshine

Sara usually has a mix of babies and toddlers with no more than 8 total at a time. Her mother Marina is the 2nd caregiver. . Feel free to email me if you have questions about our experience with Sunshine. You can contact Sara directly at 510-548-2815 or sunshinedaycareberkeley [at]

Sept 2013

My son's awesome daycare has openings for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. All the kids are between 9 and 18 months and there would be 6 including your child. Sunshine Daycare owned by Sara Mendez is so loving and wonderful with a humongous backyard better than any tot park you've seen around. Phone: 510- 548-2815, 510-334-7956. You can find other reviews on BPN to find out more or just call Sara directly. She's located off of Ashby between Sac and San Pablo and they are Spanish speaking.

Aug 2012

Sunshine Daycare is the best daycare we've seen in the East Bay, and we looked at lots of them. If you live in South Berkeley or North oakland, you really should try to get a spot! Sara Mendez runs a small, clean, professional daycare that feels more like a school than a home-based operation. She has several wonderful assistants, provides good food, and gives the kids tons of outdoor time (they have a huge beautiful backyard). A couple darkened nap rooms allow the kids to sleep peacefully without waking each other. She takes a few infants and a few toddlers but keeps the numbers low. Most importantly, Sara and her staff imbue the kids with good manners and respect for each other. The combination of a beautiful facility, a huge outdoor play space, a mix of structure and freedom, and a small size makes every child (and parent) so happy at Sunshine. She can be reached at sunshinedaycareberkeley [at] or 510-334-7956.

May 2012

Like most new moms I was nervous about my 4 month old starting daycare. As a MSW I have experience with child development and interviews so I developed a long set of interview questions and talked with almost 20 local providers. I made an appointment at Sunshine, walked in, and my questions felt silly - this place was perfect and then I was really impressed with her thoughtfulness and passion for children! The house is so clean, so bright with books, toys and a backyard better than most parks. Sara Mendez and her mother clearly love children and are gifted in their patience and laughter. Ten months later I love picking up my daughter, everyone is smiling, well fed and relaxed after a busy day. Sara has two older children leaving for pre-school and will be looking for infants to start soon. Give Sara a call, her prices are reasonable and when children are ready she prepares homemade, healthy food. She has always been responsive to my questions and concerns. I can't say enough good things about our experience with Sunshine, feel free to contact me for a parent perspective.

Nov 2011

I would highly recommend Sara (Sunshine Daycare) as a child care provider in any other family in need of day care service because, first of all, she loves kids. She was almost a daytime mom to my daughter. Sometimes, I felt jealous about how well she bonded with my baby. Haelee had been attending this Sunshine daycare from 3 months old up until we moved to New York. They have a huge outdoor playground and would prepare homemade food for kids (if you want). I love and miss this sweet family. Haelee's mom Kristine

Oct 2011

Our 2-year old has been in love with this daycare since he was five months old. It is a clean, professional, home-based daycare near the Ashby BART run by Sara and her mother. The best thing about Sunshine is the careful attention that Sara gives to the kids, all of whom love the big yard and the many toys (no TV!). Sara keeps things pretty small, usually no more than 6-7 kids, which allows the kids to have enough playmates without things being too crazy. Sara can be reached at laprincesasarita [at]

Oct 2011

I highly recommend Sara Mendez's Sunshine daycare with no reservations. Our son was there for almost a year in 2010 and we felt that he was loved and cared for very well. Their outdoor space set-up is exceptional with a huge yard, and a brick raceway for little wheelers to go round and round all day. There's a great big lawn space with play structures and a big deck to hang out in. My boy loved being outdoors and this is his place of choice when we were reviewing daycares. There was always an aroma of fresh home cooking which won over my food-driven then 1 year old right away. Most importantly, everyone in Sara's family is kind and loving and took great interest in every child. We also enjoyed the small size care, easier to manage colds and seasonal illnesses. We were also very impressed with how clean and organized it was, stocked with only carefully chosen quality age appropriate toys. We really enjoyed our time there. Angela

Oct 2011

I highly recommend Sunshine Daycare. Sara Mendez & her family have been a second family to my 22-month-old daughter since she was 6 months old. Sara has a beautiful clean home with a huge grassy yard & a large selection of indoor & outdoor toys, books & craft supplies. She has a passion for children, always finding great deals on new toys & supplies to keep them stimulated. She and her mother Marina typically maintain a 1:3 caregiver/child ratio with ample cuddle time & attention for both the babies & the toddlers. They speak Spanish to the children; my daughter can now understand & speak both English & Spanish. They provide homemade meals & snacks and maintain a schedule yet remain flexible to meet the needs of full-time working parents. Parents & grandparents can visit anytime. Sara's husband, daughter & son are often around to play with the kids, making it a family atmosphere & a home away from home for my daughter, who talks about them daily. If you want the intimacy of nanny/grandparent care coupled with socialization with other children, check out Sunshine Daycare. Email me anytime to chat.

March 2010

I recommend sunshine daycare wholeheartedly. Sara is an energetic,creative,and extremely loving person. She cares so much about each child and how they are developing.My daughter spends her sun-filled days with lots of interesting and engaging toys, pretend play and games. Sara loves being with the kids and always has fun imaginative activities to do with the them. Sara comes up with fun crafts to do with the kids around each holiday-even very young children do creative projects and learn to paint and draw-we are amazed at what our little girl does there! Sara speaks Spanish with them and does educational games with them in English. The atmosphere of the home is enveloped in love, peace, cooperation, respect and mindfulness. The home is clean, and the back yard is huge and beautiful. Sara is also a budding photographer, and posts hundreds of pictures of the kids playing with each other. I am amazed by the amount of energy she puts into her daycare. My daughter loves it there, and we will be very sad to say goodbye. They are a beautiful family who have welcomed our daughter warmheartedly into their home. Contact: Sara Mendez, laprincesasarita [at]

June 2009

I want to highly recommend Sunshine daycare in South Berkeley. It is a licensed family daycare that opened early this year, run by mother and daughter, both with many years of experience in working with children. And that is definitely a gift of theirs: both have a natural affinity for children, and a genuine interest in their emerging personalities. And they are lots of fun too. My daughter loves the place and so do I.

Beautiful space with large outdoors, affordable, homemade food, safe, clean and above all, very loving. Activities include art, gardening, dancing, reading, and outside play (there will soon be a sandbox in the backyard). The mother is speaking Spanish to the kids.

They currently have three infants at 6, 13 and 16 months, and are looking now for kids 2 years and older (there will be a maximum of 8 kids). Open from 7.30 am-5.30 pm 5 days/week, .

Contact Sara for more information. Contact: Sara, laprincesasarita [at]