“They made me feel as if we had known each other for years”: Ann-Marie shares her experience with All Our Kin

As I mentioned in my last post about Paul Tough, All Our Kin had two very exciting and successful benefit events this week.  The Bridgeport Launch Party was energizing, a chance to introduce All Our Kin to the Fairfield County community. The following evening, our Kinship in New Haven event reaffirmed how grateful we are for our longtime supporters and friends.

Tough treated the crowd two nights in a row with reflections and insights from his new book.  We also were fortunate enough to have two amazing providers speak at our events.  In New Haven, P. Marie Gibson spoke about her nine-year relationship with All Our Kin, and how she went from barely making ends meet to running a successful family child care.  In Bridgeport, Ann-Marie Griffith discussed the immense impact All Our Kin has had on her life and family child care program in just five short months.

I’d like to share her thoughts with you:

“Hello, my name is Ann-Marie Griffith and I am a family child care provider.  The name of my business is Little Treasures Academy.

I was first introduced to All Our Kin when I came across a flyer at the Burrough’s Community Center, while I was waiting for a meeting to start.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading because it was exactly what I needed.  I couldn’t wait for the next day to come so I could call the contact person. 

I emailed Tyree who directed me to Nilda.  I have to make sure to mention that they made me feel as if we had known each other for years.  This was in May, just around the time the annual conference for family child care providers was set to take place. 

The workshops were diverse.  They not only addressed areas that dealt directly with children and policies, but also focused on the providers; making sure we took care of ourselves. 

The training that had the most impact on me dealt with setting up our space.  I was guilty of displaying almost everything I had, which was really for the benefit of the adults who came to interview for my program.  I knew that it wasn’t working because the children were overwhelmed and couldn’t focus on any one thing for very long.

As soon as I got home from the conference, I started putting things away, and consciously thought about how to arrange my space to entice the children to want to engage in the different activities.  I learned that I could use my space as my assistant. 

I also participated in a 10 week business training program, which was presented in a way that did not require us to have a degree in math, thank you Julia.

Welcome Maureen, the newest addition to the All Our Kin Family; just for us here in Bridgeport.  Well, I guess we can share her.  She will be spending the next three months with me, coming to my home once a week to help me in many different areas.  Where else could I get this level of service without having to take out a loan?

The services that All Our Kin offer are essential to us as providers and critical to the success of our business.  Being a child care provider involves so much more than just loving children.  The fact is, as any other business, we have to wear many hats.  If there is one hat that we don’t like to wear because it makes us feel inadequate, we are able to reach out to All Our Kin and get the training, information or whatever is needed to be able to wear this hat with confidence. 

Because of All Our Kin, providers like myself can establish social networks, participate in trainings that address topics specific to us, we have an immediate resource if we have questions, need information or just need someone to listen.  We could not afford to pay for all we’ve already been given, and I know there is so much more to come. 

Your being here this evening tells me that you care and want to be a part of All Our Kin’s mission to equip and support the family child care providers of Bridgeport.  On behalf of all the providers, from the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless!”

Thank you, Ann-Marie, for sharing your thoughts with us and our guests in Bridgeport!  We’re so pleased you’ve joined the All Our Kin Family, and can’t wait for our relationship with you to continue growing.


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