Lifting Little Voices 2021: Planning For Change

Lifting Little Voices is a biennial community forum, hosted by the Collaboration for Early Childhood, to bring local leaders together to discuss the importance of early childhood in policy and leadership decisions. The event took place virtually on February 18, 2021 at 6:30 pm. You can read the press release here.

The Evening's Agenda

  • 6:30pm Welcome. John Borrero
  • 6:35pm Overview of the Collaboration. Sophie Grimes
  • 6:45pm Community Systems Development: What Does It Take? Grace Araya
  • 7:05pm Panel Discussion: The State of Our Community with Questions and Answers.

Panelists:

Health and Development – Rebecca Barbato, Loyola Center for Health
Family Engagement – Whitney Brooks, Collaboration for Early Childhood
Equity and Opportunity – Jacqueline Moore, Equity Team Oak Park
Early Care and Education – Jill Pacyna, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow School
Business/Economic Impact – Bob Tucker, Chicago Community Loan Fund
Male Engagement – Raheem Young, Welcome to Fatherhood

 

  • 7:50pm Implications for Policy and Advocacy. Dana Garner
  • 8:10pm Next Steps/Closure. Becki Streit
  • 8:15pm Adjourn/Exit Survey

About the Collaboration

Who we are: The Collaboration for Early Childhood is a public/private partnership that works to narrow the opportunity gap that begins in the first few years of a child’s life. Read more about our history and our story in the “About Us” section of our website. 

What we do: Utilizing an equity lens, we partner with families, educators, health professionals and community members to ensure that our children enter kindergarten healthy, eager to learn, and ready to thrive. Learn more about our program services areas or read the flyer previewed below

Speakers and Panelists

Grace Araya

Grace Araya

Illinois Action for Children

Grace Araya is the Director of Community Systems Statewide Supports at Illinois Action for Children. She leads a team that provides training and technical assistance to early childhood collaborations across the state. Her work is focused on strengthening local communities’ ability to develop and implement community-wide, collaborative strategies that improve outcomes for children and families.

Rebecca Barbato

Rebecca Barbato

Loyola Medicine

Dr. Rebecca Barbato, MD is a pediatric specialist with over 19 years of experience serving children and families in the Chicago area. She provides primary care services for children of all ages, from infants to teenagers. She operates her medical practice at Loyola’s North Riverside Family Health Center.

John Borrero

John Borrero

Collaboration for Early Childhood

John’s career has been devoted to working on behalf of young children and families, with a focus on underserved communities. He is proud to have served in both national and local leadership roles across the early childhood landscape. John is currently the Executive Director for the Collaboration for Early Childhood.

Whitney Brooks

Whitney Brooks

Collaboration for Early Childhood

Whitney brings a unique perspective both as a parent of two children, and as a preschool teacher here in Oak Park. Whitney is heavily involved in community outreach and she helps to facilitate the Collaboration’s annual Parent Leadership Training. She serves on the Family Advisory Committee for the Illinois Early Learning Council and holds a BA in Criminology and Sociology from Dominican
University. Whitney is currently a Community Ambassador for the Collaboration for Early Childhood.

Dana Garner

Dana Garner

Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF)

Dana’s vast career in non-profit management and Head Start has provided her with professional job opportunities that include positions as Early Childhood Education Program Manager, Director of Training, Executive Director, Quality Assurance Director, and Professional Leadership & Development Consultant. Dana received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Hampton University, and a Master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Dana is currently an Early Childhood Education Program Manager with IFF in Chicago.

Sophie Grimes

Sophie Grimes

Collaboration for Early Childhood

Sophie comes to Illinois from the NYC Department of Education in the Office of Teacher Recruitment & Quality, where she supported on impactful messaging, teacher recruitment campaigns, and managed a resource website for current NYC public school teachers. She brings a creative lens and a background in social media marketing to the role of Communications Coordinator for the Collaboration for Early Childhood.

Jackie Moore

Jackie Moore

E-Team

As a practicing psychologist, Jackie’s focuses on program development for family systems and child development in the context of poverty. Jackie earned MA and PhD degrees in Human Development from the School of Education at University of California, Los Angeles. Jackie Moore is a member of the E-Team in Oak Park and the School Board President at Oak Park and River Forest High School.

Jill Pacyna

Jill Pacyna

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow School

Jill Pacyna has been a Reflective Prekindergarten teacher for 19 years, as well as an Engaged Parent Advocate, and Dedicated Equality Activist. Jill holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and an MA in Reading with an ELL Endorsement.

Rebecca Streit

Rebecca Streit

Collaboration for Early Childhood

Becki Streit is the Chair of the Collaboration’s Board of Directors. A retired special education teacher and administrator, her career focused on early intervention for children with special needs, working with school districts to create and support access for students, and providing high-quality instruction to students with a variety of learning challenges.

Bob Tucker

Bob Tucker

Chicago Community Loan Fund

Bob Tucker joined the Chicago Community Loan Fund in June 2015 as the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Programs. He leads internal operations and provides strategic leadership to ensure CCLF executes its business plan and fulfills its mission to provide flexible, affordable and responsible financing and technical assistance for community stabilization and development efforts and initiatives that benefit low- to moderate-income neighborhoods. He was a Village Trustee on the Village Board of Oak Park, Illinois, from 2011-2019.

Raheem Young

Raheem Young

Welcome to Fatherhood

Raheem Young works as a Youth Interventionist with Oak Park Township and co-founded a non-profit called Welcome to Fatherhood where he works with dads to help them cope with some of the pressures and stresses of fatherhood. Raheem is a husband and father of three. He created Welcome to Fatherhood to assist other dads in their fatherhood journey by sharing with them his challenges and triumphs.

Post-Event Next Steps

There are many ways to get inolved in the Collaboration’s work and participate in our programming. If you attended the Lifting Little Voices event, you can start by sharing your feedback with us to help us plan future events that matter to you. 

 

Support a strong start and a bright future.

We champion high-quality early childhood care and learning experiences and support for families so all children develop their full potential.