Board of Directors

Becki Streit, Chair
Bob Tucker, Vice-Chair
Rupa Datta, Secretary
Julie Stevens, Treasurer
Charisse Burns
Louise Gates
Lisa Ginet
Gordon Hellwig
Marion Ivey
Elizabeth Lippitt
Gina Lowell
John Mayes
Mark Smylie

Strong Start,
Bright Future.

171 S. Oak Park Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

Dear Partner,

As I write this, the sun is shining, the trees are budding, and the tulips (a flower that calls to mind my hometown of Holland, Michigan) are blooming. Spring–a season of growth and change–is joyfully upon us. It’s fitting, then, that I am also experiencing a season of growth and change myself. I joined the Collaboration for Early Childhood as Executive Director in April and want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. I am coming into a healthy, energized, and innovative organization thanks in large part to your support.

Your gifts this past year have helped us to:

  • Provide Baby Bundles – totes filled with diapers, onesies, books, toys, and resources – to new and expecting parents in our community;
  • Offer free workshops to parents and caregivers covering topics including textured hair care, gun safety, infant massage, and CPR for babies; and
  • Create and share Story Walks, interactive children’s book displays that serve as a teaching tool at early childhood programs in Chicago’s Western Suburbs and spark conversations about diversity, anti-bias, and building community.

I’m joining the Collaboration at an incredible time, and it’s not just because the sun is (finally) consistently shining again. We are putting our new Strategic Framework into action and we are intentionally building work that both deepens and widens our impact. With your donation this spring, we will be able to think more broadly and comprehensively about how we care for our young children. We will cultivate new relationships with partners outside of Oak Park who can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to our networks.  

Your gift today will help us build more inclusive, resilient learning spaces for all children. We’re embarking on exciting work to enhance the toolboxes of our early childhood educators through the delivery of “sensory kits” and a training series led by Occupational Therapists. Our goal is to encourage educators to promote the development of children’s regulation and coping skills, capacities that will help them thrive not only in the classroom, but throughout the seasons of growth and change that are ahead for them.

In addition to the tulips, springtime brings preschool graduations and kindergarten registrations; support from generous donors like you helps us ensure that, during these wonderfully exciting (and sometimes scary!) times of transition, children and families are connected with the care, relationships, and resources they need to begin school safe, healthy, and empowered to succeed. 

I’m so very excited about all the amazing ways we’ll continue to grow together.

In gratitude,

Mary Reynolds, LCSW, I/ECMH-C
Executive Director
Collaboration for Early Childhood

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