To our community, this year brought transition internally and externally. We have new faces eager to help in our mission, and we have new partners and supporters providing the building blocks along the way. We invite you to join us in becoming an organization that helps educators, families, and entities statewide in addressing the gaps in early childhood care and education. More information on our endeavors is contained in the following pages comprising Early Connections’ 2020-2021 Annual Report.
Joey is a 2-year-old who initially came to us at Early Connections very shy and withdrawn. There were safety issues in his home, and he needed to feel safe. Our EC teacher provided a safe, nurturing environment to help him grow socially and developmentally. After spending time in his classroom, Joey began to feel safe, and bonded with his teacher. That is when we watched him blossom!
Sadly, funding for this child abruptly ended and this child faced ending his care at Early Connections right away. Our Family Support team worked hard to help his mom find other funding sources, but were unsuccessful. Mom was in the process of finding a job, but because she did not have one at that time, she did not qualify for child care subsidy. And how could a single mom go out and search for a job with no one to care for her child? Our Director and Teachers wanted to donate in some way to keep this young child in care, because they feared that Joey would lose the progress that he made. They worried about his safety. Because of the support of a few donors, this little one was able to continue attending our early care and education program for four additional weeks! During that time, mom made great progress. She secured a job, and is currently applying for child care subsidy. That means that Joey can continue to attend Early Connections, and thrive!
#GivingTuesday is the international day of generosity happening tomorrow, November 30, 2021. It was created as a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. This year, we are asking for donations to contribute to our Bridge Funding program, which helps support our little ones who lose funding for childcare at Early Connections for up to an additional month. Please join us in supporting early childhood education together!
We are looking for energetic, reliable and flexible teachers to join our team! We have full and part-time PreK Counts positions. Lead teachers shall possess a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development, as well as an active Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Instructional Certification in Early Childhood Education. Teaching Assistants must have an Associate’s Degree or higher or a Child Development Associate’s Certification (CDA). Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have openings in our Pre-K Counts program at several of our locations. Children must be 3 years old as of 8/24/2020 and younger than the entry age for kindergarten. Income guidelines apply (a family earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level, such as a family of 4 earning up to $79,500). Part-time morning and afternoon and full-time spots available. Remote learning is also an option. Please call for more information! City Center and North East locations – 814-456-4576. Harbor Homes and John Horan Apartments location – 814-899-3310
We would like to thank United Way of Erie County for suggesting that coats from an anonymous donor (with a big heart!) be shared with our Early Connections children to keep them warm. Thank you for your kindness!
“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.
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.
Jamie Schumacher, Board President