ECA News

Teachers Nominated for Special Recognition

Miriam Godinez

Congratulations to Vicki Aniton, Brenda Hughes and Miriam Godinez, ECA’s nominees for the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly’s annual Education Awards program. This awards program recognizes outstanding teachers in several categories across northeast Indiana. Nominations were submitted by staff and reviewed by several managers for one nominee for each Center. Award winners will be announced in the next few weeks, and winners will be guests of honor at an awards dinner in October.

For Beacon Learning Center - Vicki Aniton—Lifetime Achievement

Vicki Aniton

Vicki’s career in early childhood spans 44 years with young children, primarily 3- to 5-year-olds, 19 of them with Early Childhood Alliance in Fort Wayne. Vicki has a passion for working with young children. Once focusing primarily on preparing children for kindergarten, she has expanded her focus to preparing children for life.

Her legacy is the one-on-one relationships she has had and continues to have with children in their most vulnerable and critical stage of life. Even though she didn’t set out to be in the classroom this long, she has stayed because she enjoys it. Vicki explains that “they impact my life just as much as I do theirs.”

For Downtown Learning Center - Room 1 Team: Brenda Hughes & Miriam Godinez - Innovation in Teaching

Brenda Hughes

Teaching as a team began two years ago for Brenda and Miriam. Brenda has been with ECA six years and Miriam, three years. Together they are making a difference for children and their families at a most critical time of development for toddlers. They are able to look at their surroundings and envision ways to create a learning environment in new and different ways, always with the children’s needs in mind. For example, the children’s interest in music led them to find people in the community to share their musical talents in the classroom.  Another project was finding a way for the children to watch activities outside their play yard, so a periscope was created. An important part of this team’s focus is family involvement, so they instituted parent play days each month. Some of the special activities they plan—some for parent play days— are projects that are often limited to older children, such as cooking, baking bread, making butter, creating shaped rice cereal treats and tie-dying.

Miriam Godinez
Miriam Godinez

ECA Welcomes Center Staff

Tricia Willard is now the Chief Center Administrator for Early Childhood Alliance (ECA). In her new role she will oversee operations of ECA’s two Learning Centers, working directly with the Centers’ Co-Directors.

ECA also welcomes Dora Kurpierz as Co-Director at the Downtown Learning Center. Her responsibilities include working closely with Center staff on curriculum, licensing, enrollment, and family engagement.

Five Join Board of Directors

Early Childhood Alliance Board of Directors welcomed five new board members at its July meeting. Joining the Board for three-year terms are:

  • Amber Bauer, CPA, Senior Accounting Consultant at Whittle Consulting, LLC
  • Bethany Burgun, Director of Enrollment Management at The Stanley Clark School, South Bend
  • Kendall Dudley Billows, Senior Vice President, Wealth Director, PNC
  • Lisa Noll – Marketing Director, Lincoln Financial Group
  • Julie Sanchez, Citizen Services Director, City of Fort Wayne

Five Join Board of Directors

Early Childhood Alliance Board of Directors welcomed five new board members at its July meeting. Joining the Board for three-year terms are:

  • Amber Bauer, CPA, Senior Accounting Consultant at Whittle Consulting, LLC
  • Bethany Burgun, Director of Enrollment Management at The Stanley Clark School, South Bend
  • Kendall Dudley Billows, Senior Vice President, Wealth Director, PNC
  • Lisa Knoll – Marketing Director, Lincoln Financial Group
  • Julie Sanchez, Citizen Services Director, City of Fort Wayne

Child care programs toured

Rachel Yoder, Paths to QUALITY Coach

Rachel Yoder, Paths to QUALITYTM Coach for Early Childhood Alliance, facilitated tours of three family child care homes for 12 guests from Women United and United Way of Allen County. The homes had been awarded 2016 Women United grants. The grants were established to help child care providers on Paths to QUALITYTM Level 1, 2, 3 move up a level and Level 4 programs maintain high quality by providing additional support for materials or teacher certifications. During the tours, the guests talked with child care providers and observed children using materials and equipment.

The homes on the tour were: Paths to QUALITY Level 3 – Little Hands Big Hearts Childcare where Jasmine Merriweather is the Lead Caregiver; Paths to QUALITY Level 3 – ABC and ME Childcare where Nikisha Jones is the Lead Caregiver; and Paths to QUALITY Level 1 – Inspiring Minds, where Kamecia Clark is the Lead Caregiver.

Teachers Join Early Childhood Alliance

New teachers at ECA’s Beacon Street Learning Center are: Odesa Aytch – toddler teacher; Erin Harting – preschool teacher; Tawny Klesz – infant teacher; and Shari Raney- infant teacher. ECA’s Downtown Learning Center also welcomes a new teacher, Moinea Lopez – infant teacher.

Area businesses Play It Forward

Locally built, life-sized playhouses served as the feature auction items to help Early Childhood Alliance raise a record-breaking $119,000 at its recent fundraiser. More than 200 guests Played It Forward To Spark a Future, with lively bidding for the playhouses, along with several vacation getaways, sport packages, custom jewelry and more.Locally built, life-sized playhouses served as the feature auction items to help Early Childhood Alliance raise a record-breaking $119,000 at its recent fundraiser. More than 200 guests Played It Forward To Spark a Future, with lively bidding for the playhouses, along with several vacation getaways, sport packages, custom jewelry and more.

 

The playhouses were revealed at a TinCaps game a few days prior to the fundraiser and remained on display through the special event held at Parkview Field.

Proceeds from the annual event will support projects at the two ECA Learning Centers in Fort Wayne, family engagement in northern Indiana, agency operations, and projects to support ECA’s strategic plan. ECA provides programs and services for 10 northern Indiana counties.

Sponsoring, designing and building the playhouses were:

#STARship
Corporate Sponsor: STAR Financial
Construction Sponsor: Hagerman Inc.
Design Sponsor: MKM architecture + design

Parkview Flight of Fancy
Corporate Sponsor: Parkview Health
Construction Sponsor: Weigand Construction
Design Sponsor: Design Collaborative (more)

Antebellum Jam(es)boree
Corporate Sponsor: Rick & Vicki James
Construction Sponsor: Michael Kinder & Sons
Design Sponsor: Elevatus Architecture

Pyromation “adopts” classroom at ECA

It was celebration time in Room 8 at Early Childhood Alliance (ECA), on Wednesday, May 10, as a group of 3- to 5-year-olds welcomed Pyromation to the Downtown Learning Center (516 E Wayne St).  The Fort Wayne based company that produces temperature sensing devices and equipment, adopted the classroom with a $3,000 grant in support of room improvements, sliding scale tuition, and professional development. The Pyromation senior management team and team members joined in the fun at ECA during the unveiling of a dedication plaque with the preschoolers.

“Pyromation believes it is our duty and privilege to support families and children in need, said Pete Wilson, president. “Early Childhood Alliance’s commitment to providing quality early childhood education as well as much needed services to families makes them a valuable resource in our community. We believe strongly in the mission of ECA and are excited to be supporting them in this way.”

Local Philanthropist Welcomed by Toddlers

It’s celebration time for the children and teachers in Room 1, and the special guest is Harriet Inskeep. On Wednesday, April 12, Inskeep will be welcomed for a special breakfast by a group of toddlers at ECA’s Downtown Learning Center (516 E Wayne St). As part of ECA’s Adopt-a-Classroom program, she is adopting Room 1 with a $5,000 grant in support of room improvements, sliding scale tuition, and professional development. A special plaque will be unveiled outside the classroom in her honor.

Inskeep, who is well known for her business and philanthropic work in the community, credits her own lifelong love of learning for her support of education.

“We are grateful for Harriet’s support for ECA to provide the foundations of education for our youngest citizens,” said Madeleine Baker, CEO of Early Childhood Alliance. “Investment in children’s early years directly impacts our economic health by preparing our future workforce from the very beginning.”