Potential for Doing Good
Message from Executive Director: Amber Peters
"It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others," said Dalai Lama.
Adversity: unfavorable fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress.

2020 brought misfortune for many but allowed EPEL to respond, grow, and use partnerships with the potential for "doing good" to impact the 12,000 children ages five and under and their families in our community. Often the most growth comes from when we have to change. An obstacle or roadblock, and there were many in 2020, often sets off changes. This year could have been a time to put our heads down and think about how we could proceed once there was a vaccine or we could lean in and think about what families need to help them move forward. EPEL used 2020 to stretch our reach through partnerships, reflect on inequities of the system through twists, turns, starts, and stops, while focusing on the importance of work in the first 2000 days of a child's life.

In this newsletter, I highlight ten successes to celebrate the growth that EPEL has been a part of this year to impact families. You will find that the successes were possible because of others' mission to "doing good" so EPEL could affect others and partnerships to collaborate to reach further. I am more inspired than ever by our community and EPEL's work to invest in our youngest learners. Thank you is never enough for trusting EPEL to partner with you. From all of us at Elgin Partnership for Early Learning, every contribution is an investment in our community's future. My wish for you is that you take time over the holidays to rest, reflect, and celebrate your "doing good" for 2020.

2021 will be time for EPEL to continue to build a robust and equitable system with our partners for children and families. Join me in celebrating some of our successes this year, as we couldn't have done it alone. What is your wish for 2021?

Together WE Can,

EPEL received two COVID grants, which allowed the distribution of 63,203 diapers benefitting over 2,200 caregivers since April. EPEL partnered to impact families with early learning materials, diapers, books, and community resources through food distributions, home visiting, health care facilities, and social media. Thank you, Grand Victoria Foundation, Community Foundation, City of Elgin, Seigle Foundation, Hoffer Foundation, and the Wisdom Foundation for funding so we could serve families with essential needs.
Diaper and Book Grant
Connecting With Families Through Partners and at Mobile Pantries
Fit For Kids Grant
EPEL, City of Elgin, and Alignment Collaborative for Education partnered to design, print, and install five early learning signs that support needed school readiness skills at Festival Park in downtown Elgin. Thank you Making Kane County Fit for Kids!
Connecting Families to Learning Opportunities through Play

Screening Grants
Thank you to Elgin Township and IL Action for Children for awarding EPEL with developmental and social-emotional ASQ screening materials for families to use to screen their child to ensure they are meeting typical developmental milestones from Birth to Kindergarten.
Building Trust with Caregivers at Food Pantries and in the Community
Connecting Caregivers with Tools to Prepare Children for School
Calendars & Video
Thank you to our 2021 Calendar Sponsors. EPEL designed and printed 11,000 calendars in English and Spanish to share with the families in 11 communities. Stay tuned for our all NEW monthly videos starring Kindergarten teachers offering tips and tricks for preparing children for school.

Kristin Meredith and Jaleen Rodriguez from Highland Elementary kick-off January.
EPEL popped into four neighborhoods weekly this summer to offer resources, opportunity to complete Census forms, sign up for library cards, check out books, receive diapers, books, early learning materials, and information about enrolling in home visiting and preschool programs. EPEL Executive Director was honored to co-chair the Education Census Committee with School District U-46 and Elgin Community College to lead the work of getting all children counted.
Neighborhood Pop-Ups
Neighborhoods were chosen based on data of locations where families aren't accessing community resources. EPEL collected data to inform decisions about expanding summer Learning On the Go sites for Summer 2021.
Connecting With Neighborhoods by Meeting Families Where They Are
Summer Parks 2020

Meeting Families in Neighborhood Parks Building Trust with Families
Thank you Elgin Township,
U-46 School District, Kiwanis of Elgin and Hoffer Foundation for funding Learning On the Go. EPEL and Alignment Collaborative for Education partnered to serve in four neighborhoods (three in Elgin and one in Streamwood) summer 2020 to provide early learning materials for 2,200 children.

Thank you SCARCE in Glen Ellyn, Renaissance Foundation in St. Charles, Scholastic Books, First Book, Side Street Studio and the NAACP who all pitched in to provide materials for families.
EPEL Pipeline Transition Work

EPEL is building a strong pipeline from Birth-Kindergarten. Home Visiting programs and early learning partners work through the transition process of our youngest learners' birth-two to ensure the process is aligned, so no child is left without access to preschool programs. We look forward to this pipeline growing.
Community Slot Gap Planning Grant Received
Our community has been identified by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development as one of the five most underserved communities in Illinois in terms of availability of early childhood services. The slot gap for B-3 is 2,552 and for 3-5 is over 1,200. No one organization can tackle this alone. Elgin Partnership for Early Learning (EPEL) has received a planning grant to support our community in applying for additional state funding. We are excited about this next step toward building equity in our community. We look forward to working with community partners to move closer to our vision that all Our children are happy, healthy and ready for Kindergarten.
Giving Tuesday
Thank you donors for helping EPEL raise $4,335 in 24 hours to continue our work in the community.
Chicago Bulls Community Grant
Thank you Chicago Bulls for choosing EPEL for one of your $5,000 community impact grants. Grants support EPEL's work to serve more children and families in the community.
Elgin Partnership for Early Learning
2020 Organization of the Year
by Elgin Hispanic Network
We are honored and look forward to continuing
our work in the community.Thank You!
EPEL (Elgin Partnership for Early Learning)