Early Connections and EUMA A family’s stress associated with the need for food and permanent shelter often leaves children lacking access to consistent, quality early childhood education, and can hinder the child’s success in kindergarten and school. To help address this need Early Connections began collaborating with the Erie United Methodist Alliance (EUMA) to help homeless or transient families provide their children with access to quality early care and education in early 2016. EUMA has existed within our community for 130 years, providing services and shelters to help end homelessness to veterans, youth, children and families, as well as addressing the root causes of poverty. Early Connections streamlined the application and enrollment process for infants and children from EUMA families that are faced with homelessness in our community. Early Connections staff look at appropriate financial tuition supports to help assist the family enroll their children at any of our six locations. While attending, the children are provided with nutritious snacks and meals, along with quality early care and education. Our staff will also help with kindergarten enrollment, if needed, providing an easier transition into kindergarten. Early Connections is thankful for all of the work that EUMA provides to our community, and hopes to continue collaborating to help children from homeless and transient families. Community Innovation Zone Early Connections administers the Community Innovation Zone (CIZ) grant with United Way of Erie County as the lead agency. The CIZ grant is federally funded through our state by the Race To The Top Early Learning Challenge Program. Funding provides Supported Play Groups (SPGs) in one urban and one rural location. Working with a facilitator, families and caregivers are provided with resources and referrals, have the opportunity to network, and learn to be their child’s first teacher using developmentally appropriate activities. This promotes readiness for success in school, and provides families with a better understanding of school procedures and expectations. Many participating families may have economic or cultural challenges, and the support of the facilitator and other families are of benefit to everyone involved. • Partners include the Iroquois School District, the International Institute, YMCA of Greater Erie, and the Union City Family Support Center. • During 2016-17, 78 parents and children have participated in Supported Play Groups (SPGs). SPGs reached low-income and refugee families, providing educational resources and referrals to all, and a safe environment for refugee families to bond and become acclimated to their community. • In the summer of 2017, the Union City Family Support Center provided a family trip to the Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh for 66 parents and children, encouraging participation by those families that would most benefit from ongoing participation in our CIZ Supported Play Groups, in hopes of significantly expanding our CIZ group reach both in the rural and urban program. Family Support Through a contract with Erie County Department of Human Services (DHS), Early Connections has been provided with funding to enroll up to twenty children, infant through school-age, on a full-time basis. These children might otherwise not have an opportunity to participate in quality early learning, or experience the engaging activities provided in before and after school care. The program Has a strong focus on engaging families in their children’s learning Provides activities for the entire family 30 children were enrolled over the course of the 2016-17 fiscal year. Early Connections hopes to obtain funding to enroll additional children in the coming year, providing a safe environment to help them prepare for success in school and life.
Contributors Early Connections is thankful for the generosity of our partners…... The following partners contributed to Early Connections: 4 N.I.N.E. Atty and Mrs. Michael Thomas Bruce & Bonnie Kern Cascade Park Club Darlene Kovacs Dr. Janet Rose Wojtalik East Erie Moose Lodge #593 Erie Community Foundation Erie Community Foundation – Erie Gives Fulton Athletic Club George and Kristy Klapsinos Idaeluca Chiropractic Center J.J.H.T. Inc. Jacqui Catrabone Jay and Ruth Alberstadt Jennifer Kubiak JoAnn DeSantis-Barnes John W. Alberstadt Katie Jones Kimberly Arvickson Kirk Kneidinger/Hagan Business Machines Kiwanis Club of Erie Knights of St. John La Nova Aurora Club Laura R. Schaaf Lori Hetrick Loyal Order of the Moose Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting Program - Erie County Michael and Michele Plazony Michelle M. Harkins Ronald McDonald House Charities of Erie Ruth Ann Scanzillo Slovak National Club Society of Holy Trinity Group #240 St. John Building Association Sunflower Club Vicary Insurance Agency Wesleyville Home Association The following partners generously contributed to Vinyl Palooza 3.0. Proceeds from the event benefited Early Connections. Dr. Paul and Darlene Kovacs Erie Insurance - Erie Family Life Division ERIEBANK J.J.H.T. Inc. James Rodenbaugh Joseph and Brenda Comstock Katie Jones Kelle Heidt Laura Schaaf Lori Hetrick Lorianne Feltz Louis Colizzo The Plazony Family Retirement Services of Erie LLC Ron and Sharon Bayhurst Sean and Kim Beers Society of Holy Trinity Group #240 State Representative Flo and Vicki Fabrizio State Representative Pat and Michelle Harkins Sunflower Club Waterford Pizza & More Early Connections Staff Stan Zlotkowski lll Early Connections would like to thank all of those who provided in-kind donations in support of Early Connections and Vinyl Palooza 3.0 throughout the year. 4 N.I.N.E. AJ Milanak All That Glitters Allburn Florist AseraCare Hospice Bella Salon and Day Spa Brown Fitness Center Campbell Pottery Store Dick's Sporting Goods Early Connections Staff Erie Beer Company Erie Brewing Company Erie Experience Vinyl Fitness U Glenwood Beer Distributors, Inc Heritage Wine Cellars Holly Platte Hooked on Books House of 1000 Beers Illustrated Time Photography Jessen Media Kiwanis Club of Erie Lavery Brewery Company Lucky Louie's Beer and Weiners McCoy's Barrelhouse & Grille Michael and Michele Plazony MnM Treasures Penn Beer Company Pepperidge Farms Potratz Floral Shop Quincy Cellars Richard Gawlinski Snap Fitness Stan Zlotkowski lll The Brewerie at Union Station Tracy Robison Chandler Voodoo Brewery Z3 Concepts The following partners contributed to Erie's Future Fund through Pre-K EITC and Individual Donations American Tinning & Galvanizing Barber National Institute Betsy and Dennis Bort Erie Community Foundation – Erie Gives Erie Insurance JAM PHD Inc Jennifer Kubiak Julie Slomski Keystone Research Corp. Klein Plating Works Lilly Broadcasting of PA LLC Math-U-See dba Demme Learning Michelle M. Harkins Northwest Savings Bank Scott's Development Company Scott's M 6A Joint Venture, Inc. South Hills Child Development Center UPMC Health Plan We have made every effort to list all grants, contributions and gifts received during the period July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. We apologize for any errors or omissions and ask you to contact Early Connections Administrative Offices at 814-874-0144 with corrections.