"Being a parent is about learning about the strengths you didn't know you had... and dealing with the fears you didn't know existed."


The Lotus family is comprised of women who represent the symbolic meaning of the lotus flower, rebirth.  Women who have resurrected themselves after years of abuse, trauma, and hardship. A group of women who have come from being teenage/young mothers and have experienced being in the mud and murky waters of life, but fought with refusal not to allow their backgrounds and family histories to affect the lives and development of their children.

Our MISSION is to aid in the rebirthing of stronger and more connected families and communities through education and advocacy.  Providing families with the confidence and support to make informed decision about their lives and the lives of their children.  

D.E.L.   A Doula for Every Loving Family

"A great beginning can make a positive difference in a child's life. "

                                                _D. EL

Desiree El, doula, baby, birth, childbirth, labor, delivery, education, pregnancy, women, families, children, mother, father, mom, dad, parents, birth pool, childbirth education, parent educator, sign language, car seat, Denton, Eastern Shore, Caroline County

Desiree El, MSEd - Family & Child Development Specialist

My journey to becoming a doula, childbirth educator, and parent educator........

I have worked with families and children in the early childhood education field for 25 years.  I began my career as a family childcare provider for families of children with disabilities.  I realized after the birth of my first son, who was diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss at 18 months, that quality child care for a child with special needs was difficult to locate.  This encouraged me to create an environment where families could leave their children and be confident they were being cared for and stimulated cognitively,  physically, and social-emotionally.  From there, I moved on to work for several family support centers and Head Start programs.  

I achieved my bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Special Education in 2015. With my degree, I secured a position as a Master Teacher mentoring and coaching other early childhood educators.  Upon the completion of my master's degree in Child Development and Administration, I sought to close the achievement gap through parent education. This was not enough.  I felt there was a need in the community for more.  Working with families from different backgrounds has afforded me the opportunity to learn about their journeys through birth and parenting.  My experience has brought me to the conclusion that families need support long before they enroll their children into early care centers and head start programs.  I believe that empowering families early in pregnancy with confidence and arming them with information will create strong family bonds that will encourage parents to be advocates for their children and make informed decisions that have positive impacts on their child's social-emotional and cognitive development. So, I became a doula, a childbirth educator and a parent educator along with being a child development specialist to help support families the moment they begin their journeys from pregnancy through childbirth and into the world of parenting.  Along with my family, we created the Lotus family support center to aid families in their journey.  

I am a mother of 4 and a Mimi to 2 wonderful grandchildren.  I am the creator of the Kozy Knapper nap mat.  In my spare time, I love to read, sew, cook, forest bathe, go to the beach, and spend time with my family.  

Thank you for stopping by and getting to know us.  We look forward to supporting you and your family!

Services Provided:

Mama Upendo -Mother Love 

"Family is not an important thing, it’s EVERYTHING " 

                                          - Michael J. Fox

Desiree El, doula, baby, birth, childbirth, labor, delivery, education, pregnancy, women, families, children, mother, father, mom, dad, parents, birth pool, childbirth education, parent educator, sign language, car seat, Denton, Eastern Shore, Caroline County

Jessica Rivera, B.S. Early Childhood Education

Hello, my name is Jessica Rivera, I am a wife and mother to a very gregarious 5-year-old daughter and sweet baby boy. Raising my own children and becoming a mother twice over, I know the importance of empowerment and choice. During both pregnancies, labors and life transitions I relied heavily on the support of my village, so I also know the importance of support.

Being the eldest of 6 siblings family has always been the most important thing to me.  Growing up, my mother owned and operated a family child care center where I volunteered and developed an interest in Child Development. I have come to believe that the support of the family and the environment is paramount to the development and success of the child.

My journey in Childbirth Education, Child Development, and Family partnerships began as an Early Childhood Educator over 9 years ago. While working with children and their families I have realized that there is a piece of the developmental puzzle missing.

The early education of a child is not enough to close the gap in achievement faced in many communities. The missing piece is the support and education of families during the perinatal stages of parenthood. During this major transition, much is changing physically, emotionally and developmentally for both the parents and the child. As an Early Childhood Educator, I saw that there was a gap in support between prenatal care and early childhood education. Realizing the lack of perinatal support and its link to child development and parenting skills, I became passionate about finding a way to provide families with the support needed to be successful in their transition to parenthood.

Upon the final year of completing my B.S in Early Childhood Education, I was inspired to work alongside my mother, Tovia Crawford, aunt Desiree El amongst a few other influential women to create the Lotus Family Center. With family being the foundation of this venture I knew it was perfect.

The Lotus Family Center is an organization that moves to empower families through education and support during the pre- and perinatal periods of parenthood.

I welcome you to our family and thank you for reading my story! 

Services Provided:

Sunna Mamma 

"Time spent playing with a child is never time wasted. " 

                                          - Dawn Iantero

Desiree El, doula, baby, birth, childbirth, labor, delivery, education, pregnancy, women, families, children, mother, father, mom, dad, parents, birth pool, childbirth education, parent educator, sign language, car seat, Denton, Eastern Shore, Caroline County

Tovia Crawford, Child Play Specialist & Early Childhood Educator

I discovered early in my motherhood journey that if I wanted to have the best relationship with my children I would have to revisit my own childhood and PLAY. I had no idea that this engagement would have huge impacts on how well they built friendships, related to other adults or their school success.

Hello! My name is Tovia Crawford, Child Play Specialist, and Early Childhood Educator. I am the mother of five amazing children and two beautiful grandchildren. My career as an Early Childhood Educator began in 2001 with the opening of Expanding Minds Family Child Care. Although a Family Child Care, I knew that supporting the family would have a greater impact on the child. Expanding Minds acted as a family resource and support center providing parents and family members access to the center's computer to apply for jobs, create resumes, or complete school assignments. The center was also the meeting place for Parent Engagement Parties, arranged and hosted by me.

I moved from Philadelphia closing my Family Child Care in 2010 continuing my career and gaining experience while working in several center-based programs. It was during my time working in an Early Head Start and Family Support Center that I realized the concept of the program was great but missing something. It was missing the something I put in place years ago at my family childcare center, the one on one family involvement.  Expanding Minds provided families with family connections that extended beyond continuing education and GED programs we extended and connected families and built relationships that continued to grow beyond their time at the center.  

In collaboration with my sister Desiree El and daughter Jessica Rivera, we agreed that early childhood education is important but it starts way before and beyond birth to five and with the family. The Lotus Family Center provides support services and resources to families and their children.

We welcome and thank you for allowing us to be apart of your most memorable moments.

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