Happy Holidays and Many Wishes for a Bright New Year!

As we near the end of 2021, I think back on all that we, as a Collective, have accomplished and contributed to our local communities. It is without question that parents, families, and children’s lives have improved as a result of those efforts.

In February and March, seven communities– Naugatuck, Stamford, Bristol, New London, Hartford, Tolland, and New Haven– were integral in the distribution of over 80,000 masks to local childcare providers! Working together with the Office of Early Childhood we got it done!

Many of the local collaboratives around the state including Norwalk ACTS, Stamford Cradle to Career, New London LEARN, New Britain YWCA, and several others offered workshop series and challenges to their communities around the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Many insights were realized and much was learned as we continue to work toward a country that is just and equitable in all things to all people.

In April we held the Childhood Conversations Together We Will Conference, which devoted Saturday to the Connecticut Children’s Collective by inviting several of our local collaboratives to facilitate workshops and participate in panels that focused on topics such as Race and Equity, Basic Human Needs, SEL and Mindfulness, and Parent Engagement. Many thanks to Randi McCray of New Haven, Dawn Dubay of Middletown, Roslyn Sotero of Waterbury, and Kristine Cicchetti & Emily Ross of the Northeast Early Childhood Council for making the day such a huge success!

Also in April, for the Week of the Young Child we debuted The Collective and COVID a video that highlights all of the hard work that our local collaboratives from all across the state have sustained throughout 2020 and COVID– little did we know how long COVID would be affecting us still.

Throughout the summer our local collaboratives worked to prepare for the beginning of a new school year. Folks were nervous about sending their children back to school, and they knew that families and children had been through so much stress and anxiety due to COVID. And so our local collaboratives stepped up again and provided social-emotional learning opportunities as well as providing mental heath resources regularly and consistently.

The Collective also provided help to the Office of Early Childhood by being an integral part of the newly formed Parent Cabinet by providing parent ambassadors to serve in their local communities, and represent their parents’ voices. The OEC knows that by lifting parent voice that meaningful, sustainable change will follow for the children and families they serve. We are excited to be continuing the work into 2022 and beyond!

These are just a few examples of the impact that the local collaboratives that make up the Collective have made to the state and their communities. They truly are shining beacons of light and hope for all, and we are grateful for all that they do. We are looking forward to our continued work together on behalf of children and families throughout Connecticut. Happy Holidays and Happy 2022 to all!


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