Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back at 2013!

We at HMESF want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday! As we prepare for 2014, we can’t help but look back at all the great things the HMESF team and providers have accomplished this year.

Earlier this year we celebrated our 5th anniversary with all of our supporters who have carried on the tradition of Helene Marks’ mission to create opportunities for bright young futures. We acknowledged the accomplishments of the HMESF team and supporters but more importantly we honored the child care professionals who work hard everyday to develop healthy environments for children. In celebration, we were also joined by nationally-recognized researcher, Dr. Dana Friedman of the Early Care Institute who spoke about the importance of reading to a child at an early age. We also heard from Mark McGrath, a representative from one of our centers, Hale House Center, and recipient of the first HMESF scholarship program. It was definitely a night to remember, being surrounded by friends, leaders, supporters, and early care providers.


This year we also hosted our first round table discussion with our 21 centers. Given the changing landscape of the early child care field, it was important to understand our providers’ challenges and concerns. Representatives brought up issues of funding and program cutbacks and were open to discuss how HMESF can continue to support our centers moving forward. Some major points we took away from our centers was the success of our Library Initiative and book per kid donations. As a result of this insightful meeting, we also learned the need for professional development for our centers.

A few months later we hosted our first Professional Development day with Ellen Jaffe Cogan from early education consulting firm, Hilltop Early Childhood Services. Representatives from our child care centers around the city came together to participate in a dynamic workshop about the use of centers’ walls as an extension of learning and encouraging science exploration through play. The major takeaway from the workshop was understanding that everything our providers do (i.e. decorating the walls) and everything children do (i.e. exploring) can all be opportunities to engage in the development of the child. Everyone walked away from the workshop with the joy that anything you do can make a difference.


This year HMESF expanded internally. In an effort to bring on more professionals dedicated to our mission, we were happy to welcome members of our newly established HMESF Fundraising Committee. Together, we hosted a Holiday Cocktail Party and had an amazing time with everyone who wore their best “ugly sweaters.”

The end of the year also marked our annual holiday book per kid donation. This year’s donation is Esphyr Slobodkina’s “Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business.” “Caps for Sale” has been in print for over fifty years and follows a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys filled with warmth, humor and simplicity. We can’t wait for each child at our centers to get their own copy of this delightful story and can only hope they’ll want to read it again and again!

As the year comes to an end, we want to thank everyone who has had a part in making 2013 one to remember. We couldn’t have done it without the HMESF team, our supporters, providers and centers this year! We are looking forward to 2014!!

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