Early Connections 2019-2020 Annual Report to the Community

“From tiny seeds grow mighty trees.” (Unknown).  As we have and continue to face a world health crisis that has impacted nearly every aspect of our daily lives, Early Connections has aimed to focus on the “tiny seeds” in in our community.  Our children remain our primary concern because it is only from them that our “mighty trees” of the future will grow.

Over this past year, Early Connections has recognized our community’s children must be nurtured.  To do so, we have focused on their health and well-being, support of their families, and innovative community relationships and collaborations.  We would like to thank our dedicated partners and supporters, and we want to recognize the dedication and selflessness our teachers and many other staff have shown throughout this time.  Early Connections remains committed to face any future obstacles as a community, just as we have this past year.

In summary, we are pleased to present our 2019-2020 annual report highlighting Early Connections’ work throughout this challenging time.

Finally, Early Connections would be remiss without recognizing the retirement of our Executive Director, Darlene Kovacs, and thanking her for many years of nurturing Early Connections’ tiny seeds.  Please be assured that Early Connections is entering the next year and those thereafter optimistic, energized, and eager to expand our organization, the services it offers, and the impact it has on our community.  Together, we grow.

Children Do Come With Directions

Good parenting is not easy. It can be both a joy and a challenge. Time, skill, and patience are required. As parents, we often have questions or problems and don’t know where to find the answers. The Success By 6 Children Do Come With Directions booklet is a guide for parents, providing information about your child’s health, development, and safety and includes information on choosing quality childcare. It also provides basic information on community resources here in Erie County that are available to help support the needs of families with children.

As you read, keep in mind that the information is meant to serve only as a general guide. Your child will do some things earlier then the timetables here and some things later. That’s perfectly normal, so don’t worry.

Early Connections Board of Directors announces new Executive Director

Dear Early Connections’  families, friends, and partners,

It is with great excitement the Board of Directors announces the new Executive Director of our organization, Michelle Harkins. Michelle has been fulfilling the duties of this position since the retirement of our previous Executive Director, Darlene Kovacs, but officially assumed the title as of December 11, 2020.

The Board is thrilled that Michelle has agreed to fill this position permanently. She has expressed to the Board a vision for the organization to expand both internally and throughout the community. The Board is excited to assist Michelle as she endeavors down these paths, and we are confident that under her leadership Early Connections’ mission will be wholly exemplified.

In addition to welcoming Michelle to her new role, the Board would like to formally thank our administrative staff who has made this transition seamless for our families, partners, and supporters. Their hard work and dedication to our organization, particularly during this trying time in our society, is deeply appreciated.

Please join us in congratulating Michelle, and as always, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Board of Directors at Board@earlyconnectionserie.org.

Sincerely,

Jamie Schumacher, Board President

Union City SD moving to 100% virtual classes 12/14

We have been notified that the Union City School District will be going 100% virtual on Monday, Dec 14.  Due to the size of our facility Early Connections Union City will be able to offer wrap care for the school-age children from 1:30pm-6pm (same as wrap care hours) while the Union City School District is participating in 100% virtual learning. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause our school-age families.

Santa’s Helpers

A special thank you to Santa’s Helpers this year for their handmade gifts for our little ones.  Santa’s Helpers meet each morning to design, saw, glue, sand or paint wooden toys. Erie Press Systems donates utility costs, and space on the south side of their West 12th Street facility for the workshop, which is busy with the sound of saws and sanders. They work hard all year preparing for the season of giving.  We are so lucky to be recipients of their handiwork!

Kneeling with the Santa’s Helpers: Hannah Cowan, Early Connections Finance Manager and Michelle Harkins, Early Connections Acting Executive Director.

Happy Retirement!

We would like to extend our deep gratitude to Darlene Kovacs, our Executive Director, who retired at Thanksgiving time. Unfortunately, we were not able to celebrate with a typical retirement party due to the pandemic restrictions. Admin staff and our Early Connections Board President, Jamie Schumacher, extended a big thanks to Darlene (pictured), on behalf of everyone! 

We are thankful for her years of service and dedication to Early Connections. Additional funding obtained during her time of leadership helped provide opportunities to serve more children within our community. 

Darlene, on behalf of our Early Connections’ Board, our staff, and the children and families that we serve, we wish you well as you enjoy your next chapter in life!