ECA News

Play It Forward features children’s playhouses

What child doesn’t want a playhouse in his/her back yard? Three custom-built playhouses will be featured auction items at the Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) fundraising event, Play It Forward to Spark a Future. The design, construction and corporate sponsors are launching the project on Thursday, February 2, with a ribbon cutting to begin the process.

Special guests on February 2 will be our generous playhouse sponsor teams cutting the ribbon along with pre-k students in hard hats and ECA leaders at ECA’s Downtown Learning Center (516 E Wayne St, Fort Wayne) on February 2, at 10 am. The finished playhouses will be unveiled at a Tincaps game at Parkview Field on May 13, and on display for the public May 13-17.

The playhouses will be auctioned at ECA’s signature fundraising event, Play It Forward to Spark a Future, on May 17, in Parkview Field’s Lincoln Financial Event Center. Tickets are $150 each, and go on sale March 27. Bids for the playhouses will be taken both at the event and remotely.

Proceeds from the annual event supports early education for young children. Since 2007, ECA has raised nearly $310,000 through our annual fundraising event.

Playhouse Teams

Center Hosts Adopt-a-Classroom Dedication

Children and teachers in Room 7 are celebrating.  On Friday, January 27, a group of  3- to 5-year-olds will welcome The Luminous Fund, which is adopting the classroom with a $3,000 grant in support of room improvements, sliding scale tuition, and professional development. Unveiling the dedication plaque and sharing breakfast with the preschoolers will be Kathy Carrier, Foundation Secretary and President of Briljent. The celebration is set for 9:30 am, at Early Childhood Alliance’s Downtown Learning Center (516 E Wayne St).

“My husband and I established it [The Luminous Fund] in 2016 to continue to build a foundation of service within our family and our business,” said Carrier. “We are proud of our success and what we are able to do to serve others.” Through this foundation, the Carrier and Odum families make significant donations in the communities in which Briljent operates.

ECA Hires Quality Improvement Coach

Carrie Murphy has joined the staff of Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) as Quality Improvement Coach for the 10 northern Indiana counties that ECA serves. In her position, she will work one-on-one with family child care homes in making quality improvements to enhance child care and early education. Along with recruiting new providers, she will work with new and current providers in obtaining certification, enrolling in Paths to QUALITYTM and/or moving to higher levels of Paths to QUALITYTM, Indiana’s quality rating and improvement system.

This position was funded by Partnerships for Early Learners, a project of Early Learning Indiana, and is funded through the generous support of the Lilly Endowment.

Board of Directors elects officers

Early Childhood Alliance Board of Directors elected officers for 2017: President – Dena Jacquay, Parkview Health; Vice President – Ben Michael, Fort Wayne Metals; Secretary – Tim Green, Sterling Associates; and Treasurer – Heather Teagarden, US Department of Justice.

The Board also approved three-year terms for two new Board members: Kelli Packnett, Fort Wayne Community Schools, and Hope Sheehan, Community Volunteer.

Giving Tuesday Coming Soon

After the Thanksgiving feasting… after the Black Friday shopping… after the Cyber Monday deals comes #GivingTuesday on Nov. 29, 2016. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

In the days leading up to #GivingTuesday, we will be recognizing our donors and supporters. Their generosity supports #ECAlliance and early childhood education, allowing us to build bright futures for thousands of young lives and families every year.
We want to flood Facebook in November with #UNSelfies of our supporters – including you! #UNSelfies are selfless selfies that include a quick message about why you support worthy causes – such as early childhood education or ECA. Won’t you join us in sharing your “why?”

Choose your favorite #UNSelfie template below. Print & personalize it with your “why.” Snap a quick pick and share it to our Facebook page in November.

Children’s activity series scheduled

Developing a child’s capacity to learn at an early age is critical for success in school. Book Buddies is a program that can help parents and caregivers do that.

Early Childhood Alliance has scheduled Book Buddies for September – May. Open to the public, one series will be held at Church of the Good Shepherd (708 College Ave, Winona Lake), 11:30 am -12:30 pm on the fourth Thursday of each month,* (except December). The second location is at South Whitley Library (201 East Front Street) 10:30-11:30 am, on the second Thursday of each month (except December).

Book Buddies is designed for children ages 18 months-kindergarten, accompanied by parents/caregivers. Developed by Early Childhood Alliance, Book Buddies focuses on early learning, including social skills and preschool skills, through the use of books, music and activities. The program provides a time when parents/caregivers and children work and play together, giving parents/caregivers ideas on ways to nurture skills at home. Activities focus not only on reading and writing, but also math and science concepts, health, and the development of large and small motor skills. Each family receives a copy of the book used at each session.

No registration is required. For more information, contact Lanissa Maggert, family engagement coordinator, or 800-423-1498 / 260-469-2479.

For more activities check out our Family Event Calendar.

*The November session meets November 17th.

100+ Women Who Care Donation

Early Childhood Alliance programs are getting a financial boost thanks to a donation of $27,000. The money was donated through the local 100+ Women Who Care advocacy group with matching dollars from Parkview Health and Old National Bank Foundation.

“We are genuinely grateful to 100+ Women Who Care for choosing ECA as the donation recipient, and to Parkview Health and Old National Bank Foundation for their matching dollars,” said Madeleine Baker, CEO. “This support will not only help ECA continue to make a significant impact for children and their families, but is indicative of the commitment of people throughout this community for nonprofit organizations.”

ECA Hires Ministry Coach

Carla Biro has joined the Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) Child Care Resource and Referral staff as a Ministry Coach. Her responsibilities include working with child care registered ministries across the northern Indiana, as they work toward obtaining Voluntary Certification and enroll in Paths to QUALITYTM, Indiana’s quality rating and improvement system for child care programs.

Paths to QUALITY is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for early care and education programs in Indiana. Paths to QUALITY is a tool that helps parents identify quality early care and education programs at four levels of progression. It also helps child care providers improve quality through professional development.

Paths to QUALITY Specialist Joins ECA

Mona Livingston has joined the Early Childhood Alliance Child Care Resource and Referral staff as a Paths to QUALITY specialist. Her responsibilities include supporting programs that are participating in Paths to QUALITY, and connecting with community members and programs to build capacity, primarily in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall and Kosciusko Counties.

Paths to QUALITY is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for early care and education programs in Indiana. Paths to QUALITY is a tool that helps parents identify quality early care and education programs at four levels of progression. It also helps child care providers improve quality through professional development.

Steppin’ Out to Spark a Future

A lively auction of Mexican holidays, Colts football, and specialty dinners were among the items that helped Early Childhood Alliance raise more than $76,000 at its May fundraiser, Steppin’ Out to Spark a Future for Children. More than 150 guests were treated to live music, fine food and sunset views atop the Embassy Theatre in support of high quality care and education for children.

Proceeds from the fundraiser support ECA’s family engagement programs as well as increase family access to affordable, quality early learning and child care at Early Childhood Alliance’s two learning centers where a majority of families enrolled depend on tuition assistance.

Event chair was Jill Kinder, community volunteer.

See more about this special event here.

Event Sponsors

Champion Sponsors

Parkview Health
Rick and Vicki James

Family Champions

Indiana Michigan Power

Educator Champions

Dulin Ward & DeWald
Old National Bank
Parkview Physicians Group
Travel Leaders
Vera Bradley

Additional Sponsors

Fort Wayne Metals
Hylant Group
Ian & Mimi Rolland Foundation
Salin Bank
STAR Financial
Three Rivers Federal Credit Union
Ron & Kathy Turpin