“It is so important to educate ourselves”: Celebrating All Our Kin’s Expansion on Fairfield County Giving Day

24 Hours to Give Where You Live

Today is Fairfield County Giving Day, a 24-hour online event hosted by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation celebrating the work of local nonprofits and encouraging residents to “Give Where You Live!” Giving Day is the biggest philanthropic event in Fairfield County. Today, not only will your donations help All Our Kin raise money to continue supporting family child care providers and increasing the quality of their programs, they will also help us qualify to win additional Giving Day grant prizes.

We owe so much to our supporters who have helped us to expand into Fairfield County in recent years. Our Bridgeport and Stamford/Norwalk staff members have told us how amazing it has been to bring All Our Kin to new communities and introduce family child care providers to our programs. Their hard work has paid off: All Our Kin has connected with 280 providers in the greater Bridgeport area, and 202 providers in the Stamford/Norwalk area.

We would be incredibly grateful if you would take a moment today to click here and donate $10 or more to support All Our Kin’s work in Fairfield County. Then, keep reading to find out what we have been doing in our newest Fairfield County site in Stamford, Connecticut.

All Our Kin in Stamford and Norwalk

Our newest Fairfield County site, serving Stamford, Norwalk and adjoining towns, has been a whirlwind of activity since its official start in September, 2014. “We started off with a kick-off meeting in the fall with at the Sound Waters Museum, where about 40 providers had a chance to tour the museum, learn new activities to take back to their child care programs, and learn about All Our Kin,” says Erica Phillips, the Director of All Our Kin’s Stamford-Norwalk Family Child Care Network. “Since then, we’ve held trainings on literacy, designing curricula, and setting up child care spaces. We have a series on entrepreneurship in family child care, and a five-part early childhood development series. The child care providers who we’ve engaged with are so excited to further their learning about both child development and business practices – it’s been amazing.”

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In the past few months, the Stamford-Norwalk team has been able to build a strong, diverse community of caregivers who are committed to serving children and families. “We’ve worked really hard to partner with organizations and agencies in the region, and these partnerships have been key in establishing ourselves in the communities and bringing our services to the people who need them most,” says Erica. “Every time we hear about a new fair or community event, we go and introduce ourselves and tell people what we’re doing. We’re also reaching out to all of the already-licensed providers in the area and meeting with them, and word of mouth has been a huge source of referrals. Some of the providers in Stamford and Norwalk had been attending our trainings in Bridgeport, but now they are able to come out so much more.”

So far, reception has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. “Having All Our Kin in Stamford is wonderful,” says Emmanuella, a family child care provider who lives in Stamford. “It is just such a great organization and it does so much for us. The experience that All Our Kin offers is not just the classes but also the opportunity to network with other providers and learn from them. As busy as we are, it is so important to educate ourselves so that we can better serve children in our programs and put new knowledge into practice. The All Our Kin expansion makes the trainings so much more accessible for providers here, and we can be in this network and get support from one another.”

All Our Kin’s new expansion has also been noticed by Connecticut legislators: in the past month, Representative Caroline Simmons and Congressman Jim Himes have both visited All Our Kin family child care programs in Stamford and Norwalk to learn more about the role of family child care. We are so grateful for their commitment to early childhood education and their interest in our work!

Congressman Jim Himes visits an All Our Kin family child care program.

Congressman Jim Himes visits an All Our Kin family child care program.

In the next few months, All Our Kin’s Stamford-Norwalk site will continue making new connections and expanding programs. The next Stamford-Norwalk event will be a bilingual Family Child Care Networking and Resource Fair at the UCONN Stamford Campus on March 24. Family child care providers will be able to eat, connect with each other, and meet with representatives of community resources like the Stamford School Readiness Council, the Stamford Early Childhood Collaborative, the Norwalk Early Childhood Council, Norwalk ACTS, the Stamford Library, CSEA-SEIU Local 2001 (Connecticut’s family child care union), the Women’s Business Development Council, and Stepping Stones Museum for Children.

“For me, the most exciting thing about this expansion has been seeing how passionate providers are about the work they do,” says Erica. “They work incredibly hard, and what they do is so important for our community. It is an honor to be able to support them in this work.”

Please share this post with your friends and networks in Fairfield County, and encourage them to join you in giving to All Our Kin on Fairfield County Giving Day by clicking here!

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