ECA News

Early Childhood Alliance Selected

Vroom Logo

Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) is one of 10 Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) agencies selected nationally as a Vroom ambassador by Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA). Vroom is an initiative that encourages parents and caregivers, including early care and education professionals, to boost children’s early learning and development through tips and activities provided by CCAoA. Through technology, including an app and collaborations with other organizations, Vroom encourages families and caregivers to use routine interactions, like during bath time and grocery shopping, to engage with children, strengthening their brain architecture. Ambassadors will use the brain science of Vroom to help families and providers build stronger communities

Lanissa Maggert, ECA’s Family Engagement Coordinator, and Maricela Madden, ECA’s CCRR coordinator, are coordinating ECA’s Vroom program. “We continually share with parents that they are their children’s first and most influential teachers, so it’s critical they recognize the importance of early experiences on children’s brain development,” said Maggert. “Vroom is an easy-to-use tool to help parents nurture early learning.”

Parents and caregivers can sign up for Vroom by visiting

Child Care Aware® of America is our nation’s leading voice for child care. We work with state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and other community partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offer comprehensive training to child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families. To learn more, visit Follow us on Twitter @USAChildcare and on Facebook at

Pedue Honored as Hoosier Educator of the Year

Karla Pedue

Karla Pedue, Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) educator, was awarded the 2019 Hoosier Educator Award at the Indiana AEYC Early Childhood Celebration recently. Awarded by the Indiana AEYC (Association for the Education of Young Children), this award recognizes an educator working in the preschool or early elementary field whose exemplary practices embody the practical application of Indiana AEYC standards and who shares those methods with others. Pedue, who joined ECA in 2015, is an instructor for the Child Development Associate credential for child care providers.

Karla Pedue

Training targets plant-based nutrition

More than 75 child care providers who are enrolled in the Child and Adult Care Food Program through Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) are registered for a training on plant-based nutrition on Saturday, March 9. The training will begin at 9 – 11:30 am, at The Summit (Rudisill Blvd), hosted by ECA and presented by Forward Food, a project of the HSUS, to encourage plant-based nutrition.

This training is one of several options for child care providers to obtain required training hours throughout the year to learn the latest best practices about meal planning and nutrition for young children. Trainers will focus on the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products with plant-based foods, and “refining” our diets. Presenters will be cooking on site in the Cook Spring kitchen at The Summit.

Image by congerdesign on Pixabay

ECA is a 2019 Fort4Fitness Charity Partner

ECA is excited to be a Charity Partner in this year’s Fort4Fitness events!

You can help support ECA’s mission of building better futures for young children by selecting Early Childhood Alliance as the “charity partner of your choice” when registering! If ECA is selected by 100+ participants during registration for an event, we will receive 10% of those registration fees.


Fort4Fitness 2019 Charity Partner

Step 1: Register Online

Visit and register for the Spring Cycle, Fall Festival, or both! There is a discounted rate if you choose the bundle option.

Step 2: Consider Pledging Additional Funds

You can support ECA in an even bigger way by asking friends and family to sponsor your participation through a pledge to ECA! Donations can quickly be made directly through our website:

Step 3: Have Fun!

We look forward to seeing you throughout the year!

Also, look out for us at the 4th Annual Fantasy of Lights 5K and 2K on November 16 and 17. More information to come!

Baker Elected to ROC

Madeleine Baker
Madeleine Baker

Madeleine Baker was recently elected as one of three at-large members of the Regional Opportunities Council (ROC), the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s investor board. The ROC drives the Regional Partnership’s Vision 2030 initiative with a focus on achieving three goals by 2030: increase per capita personal income to 90 percent of the national average; grow the region’s population to 1 million; and raise credential attainment to 60 percent. The ROC drives these goals by identifying, supporting and leading strategies that support business attraction, talent attraction, and talent development. ROC investors include the region’s top business leaders that live and work in 11 counties of northeast Indiana, comprised of representatives of business, government, higher-education, K-12 education, foundations, and non-profits.

ECA Welcomes New Staff

Brooklyn Disch

Brooklyn Disch recently joined Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) as executive administrative assistant.

Also new to the ECA staff are Jazzy Bergamo, Elizabeth Suwinski, and Chelsea Poindexter, teachers at ECA’s Beacon Learning Center.

Board Elects 2019 Officers and Welcomes New Members

Early Childhood Alliance Board of Directors welcomes four new Board members. Joining the Board for three-year terms are:

  • Jeri Burkhart (Kosciusko County) – Senior Enrollment Manager, Indiana Tech
  • Brandon Nettrouer (St. Joseph County) – Associate Risk Advisor, Gibson
  • Hayley Sauer (Allen County) – Director of Elementary Education, Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Ann Waters (Allen County) – President, Travel Leaders

Board officers for 2019 were elected at the November meeting:

  • President – Dena Jacquay, Parkview Health
  • Vice President – Kim Sabrosky, Indiana Michigan Power
  • Secretary – Tim Green, Sterling Associates
  • Treasurer – Heather Teagarden – U.S Dept. of Justice

New teachers welcomed at Early Childhood Alliance

Asha Henderson

ECA’s Beacon Street Learning Center welcomes Kaitlynn Pierce and LaShon Stinson to the toddler classroom teaching staff, along with Asha Henderson as a substitute teacher.

Bridget Williams II recently joined ECA’s Downtown Learning Center as a substitute teacher.

Agency Celebrates 65 Years

Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) is celebrating 65 years of serving the community. Founded in October 1953, ECA began as a neighborhood assistance agency in Fort Wayne and soon child care for working parents. Today, the agency provides family engagement programs, free child care search assistance, early childhood education centers, training and coaching for child care providers, and a food program.

Last year, ECA impacted 32,000 children across 10 northern Indiana counties: Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, St. Joseph, Steuben, and Whitley.

Teachers Join Early Childhood Alliance

Alexandrea Bischoff

New teachers at ECA’s Beacon Street Learning Center are: Alexandrea Bischoff and Breanna Kline, in preschool classrooms; and Chelsea Dempsey in the infant classroom.

ECA’s Downtown Learning Center also welcomed new teachers: Ann Hinen-Boyer in the infant/young pre-k classrooms; and Emma Pena, a substitute.