The Collaborator
Winter 2020

Message from Collaboration Director: Amber Peters
EPEL Partners,

Happy New Year! The number 2020 is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but a critical year for our community because of the Census and Presidential election. Both events are crucial to our country, state, community and the families we serve. As leaders of this community, I hope you will keep these events at the forefront of your planning so we can get an accurate count in April and people to the polls in November.

The New Year brings reflection, new goals, and renewal to the work we do. As I reflect on EPEL's work in the community, I am proud of the partners we have and the work we have accomplished together, but we are far from the finish line. We are just dipping our toes into the work that needs to be done, but we can not do it alone, but Together WE Can . A lot of work is being done at the state level for early childhood, as research shows that children with a solid foundation in their first five years are significantly more likely to be successful in school, college, career, and life. As a community, w e have to keep in sight, are we stopping regularly to measure success and access challenges for our families? Who are the new groups that we need to bring to the table to move our work forward and get closer to the finish line? Are we staying on track for our children and families? What is our North Star for the children that we all serve?

Our North Star is for all children in our community is to come to school ready and prepared. The North Star for many of our families is the partners that serve them. They depend on us/you, and we have to keep showing up. We have to continue meeting families where they are and empower them with the tools to be the best version of themselves.

Oprah Winfrey said it best, “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.”

Join EPEL in showing up to unlock the world for our most vulnerable and lean in to get closer to our goals in 2020 for all families.

Together We Can,

The Getting Ready for Kindergarten readiness calendar is here and available to families of three and four year olds. This calendar is printed in English and Spanish. This tool has short daily developmentally appropriate activities for families to engage their children to prepare for Kindergarten.
Grab a copy at your local libraries, your child's childcare center, or other places in the community.

This calendar would not be possible without our sponsors. Thank you to the sponsors below.
Thank you for your donations for Giving Tuesday. Because of your generosity, we were able to raise $4800 to invest in children and their families. These donations make an impact in your community for some of our most vulnerable children. Thank you for trusting us with your gifts and a special thank you to our first corporate match from the Law Office of Judith Schening in South Elgin.

EPEL is working to meet families where they are by offering Learning On The Go opportunities. Watch us ROLL into places where families are like laundromats, summer park sites, mobile food pantries, etc. If you have a location that you think we could meet some of our hardest to reach families shoot us an email.

See below for ways you can help!
Thank You
2019 has been a very good year for Elgin Partnership for Early Learning.
With your partnership we have been able to:

  • 352 Children Participated in story time and games in the laundromats providing learning while children wait
  • Over 1500 children, parents and grandparents engaged in summer Learning On the Go in priority neighborhood parks
  • Served 452 children under the age of 8 at 6 mobile food pantries providing books, early learning materials and information
  • 3 Collaboration Meetings totaling 240 partners attending
  • 37 While You Wait Book Baskets placed in the community where families wait
  • 35 While You Wait learning flip charts in the community 
  • 20,000 Books given out to children through 23 partners and outreach
  • 11,000 bilingual Help Me Get Ready for Kindergarten calendars given to
3 and 4 year olds with daily activities to prepare for school
  • Provided training for 144 early childhood providers in 4 trainings for educators to stay up to date on cutting edge topics
  • Hosted quarterly childcare director and family care provider network meetings given them the space to network and learn
What's Happening in Early Learning
Book Basket Update/Laundromat Learning
37 bilingual book baskets have been distributed in the community, and we have more to share. Our newest locations are Elgin Dental, Elgin Pediatric Therapy, IDHS, Evolove Chiropractic, Kids First Pediatric Dental, and Nudera Orthodontics. It is fun to see pictures of families accessing book baskets. Please send us your photos and permission to post the picture.

Help EPEL get a basket in every place a child waits to have the opportunity to read. Share with other businesses in town!
A typical day at JetXpress Laundromat, where our Learning On The Go team is making an impact with children. Sandra Rocha, a teacher from YWCA Elgin, reading to children who would otherwise be waiting.
Leticia Ornelas, YWCA Elgin teacher, at Blue Kangaroo Laundry reading stories .
Our Little Elves offered some learning activities at the JetXpress Christmas Party. Thank you to Tiffany Trewartha, U-46 Give Me Five Community Liaison, Sandra Rocha and Yesenia Serrano for making the party fun and educational. #LearningThroughPlay #TalkPlayReadDoWrite #KindergartenReady
Update on Festival Park Signs
EPEL, City of Elgin, and Alignment Collaborative for Education was awarded a partnership grant for $11,900 from Making Kane County Fit for Kids.

Update: Our signs are ready and in storage due to the early snow. Here is a sneak peek of City Employee, Adio Bello, receiving our signs and holding one up. You will have to wait and see the rest in April.

Please mark your calendars for our ribbon cutting on Friday, April 24th at 10:00. Stay Tuned for Details!
Thank you, Elgin Township, for awarding EPEL a $4000 grant to hire bilingual teachers to provide activities and storytime in our laundromat Learning On The Go projects and outreach events. Thank you for your generosity to impact the children of our community.
Did you know that our children under the age of five are our most undercounted group? In 2010, the census missed over two million children, so collectively, the states lost over half a billion a year for each year since 2010. We must work together as partners to help educate our community on the importance of an accurate count. We must take action to reverse the undercount.

Partners: Dr. Ushma Shah, U-46 Assistant Superintendent Elementary Schools, Karla Jimenez, U-46 Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement and Oswaldo Alvarez, Illinois Census Director at the Education Summit in Chicago
How can you help?
Start sharing the importance of Census 2020 with the families you serve. If your children aren't counted, they won't count for 10 years, which is their whole childhood. Think of clever ways that you can make the Census a celebration for your families to get an accurate count!

Key Piece Partners
We would be remiss if we didn't recognize a group of special partners. Each month we recognize a partner who goes above and beyond to serve children alongside with EPEL. We look forward to naming more in 2020!
Congratulations to Pat Chamberlain, EPEL Executive Board Chair and Principal of Chamberlain Consulting, for being named to Illinois Commission on Equitable Funding commission for the state of Illinois This is a WIN for Illinois and our community that Pat will be a part to "study and make recommendations to establish funding goals and funding mechanisms to provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age five and advise the Governor in planning and implementing these recommendations.” BRAVO!

S ocial Media is a great way for you and the families you serve to learn about resources and events in the community. Check us out on Instagram: elginpartnership Facebook: Elgin Partnership Twitter @epel844KIDINFO
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Elgin Partnership for Early Learning building a connected community dedicated to helping young children thrive.