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August 2022
Five years in the future, you see an article about the Collaboration for Early Childhood. What is the headline, and where is the article published? 
What would you say?

This was one of the visioning exercises that our Board of Directors worked through at their Strategic Planning Retreat in mid-July. Here at the Collaboration for Early Childhood, we have been busy preparing for the fall and, on a larger level, thinking about what the Collaboration will look like in the future through the work of strategic planning. This work, led by a consultant, began in the spring. It has since woven in the work of identifying a new executive director, to align our in-progress plan with their leadership and strategic vision. It is quite an exciting time here at the Collaboration.

There will be many ways for our community to share input in our strategic planning process. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to engage with us later in the fall. 

In the meantime, we hope your summer has been packed with outdoor activities, and lots of time spent with friends and family! Read on to see upcoming events, announcements and more. 
Vaccines for children under 5 

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children ages 6 months to five years old. We encourage families to inform themselves about the vaccine for young children. They can discuss it with their pediatrician. To make an appointment for children to be vaccinated, parents can speak with their pediatrician or register to attend an upcoming clinic hosted by the Oak Park Public Health Department.  
Mental Health Crisis Lifeline

988 is the new three-digit number for mental health crisis and it is available nationwide. Individuals experiencing a crisis or any other kind of emotional distress- whether that is related to suicide, mental health, and/or substance use can dial 988 for support. The Lifeline also provides information and support to concerned family, friends, and caregivers. Please help us spread the would to whoever needs access to this! Take care.

There is still time to get connected to Free Preschool Programs for this fall

All children should have access to high-quality preschool, no matter who they are. Oak Park still has availability for free preschool programs starting this fall. These high-quality preschool experiences that support the development of the whole preschool age child are available to families who meet eligibility criteria. If you or someone you know might be interested please reach our to us at or at 708-613-6122 ext. 8.

Supporting Early Learners and Caregivers

Each week the wonderful team at the Oak Park Public Library shares a new video in the Early Bird Learning series, alternating between content to watch with kids and content just for caregivers. You can see a great overview of some of the recent videos here, including Ms. Jenny's "Beyond Books" Tour, a video of things that can be checked out from the library that are not books. 
Parenting Workshop Series

The Chicago Parenting Program will begin in September. There will be two sessions: 
  • On Thursdays starting 9/8 led in Spanish 
  • On Saturdays starting 9/10 led in English 
Anyone with kids 2-5 can attend from anywhere, since the workshops will be held virtually. Learn more and share the flyer
Family Fun at Whirlwind Coffee Co. 

Stop by Whirlwind Coffee for a family event featuring Usborne Books, Buddha Belly Kids Yoga, and KidCreate. There will be free demos and we will be there, too, with family goodies to share! 

Families are encouraged to bring onesies (size 18-months) and diapers for donation to the diaper drive that will be accepted at the event.  
Baby Bundles for New & Expecting Parents
The Collaboration's Hello/Goodbye Open House, August 31

Swing by to say hello to Laura Crawford, our interim Executive Director, and to bid goodbye to John Borrero, the Collaboration’s Executive Director, who will be departing this fall to pursue his PhD at University of Illinois at Chicago. See our space, chat with Collaboration staff, visit our neighbors next door at Easterseals, and enjoy a handcrafted, artisan ice pop from Popify at our Open House! RSVPs are appreciated.

The open house will be both indoors and outdoors. Please note that masks are required for indoor schmoozing.😄

Donate Diapers and Onesies! 

From August 1-21, we will be accepting…

  • Diapers (sizes 1 and 2 preferred).
  • White onesies size 18 months.

Donations will go into the Collaboration for Early Childhood Baby Bundles and given to new and expecting parents! You can donate at Whirlwind Coffee, Oak Park Bank, or monetarily online via the Collaboration for Early Childhood’s donation page. (in the “program donation area” drop-down, select “Diaper Drive”)

Donations will also be accepted at the Family Event at Whirlwind Coffee on August 21.

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: Melissa Cleveland and Oak Park Bank
(Pictured: Melissa Cleveland at our 20th Anniversary Birthday Bash this spring.) 
This month we highlight Melissa Cleveland, Oak Park Director of Retail Banking at Oak Park Bank, A Wintrust Community Bank. Melissa was born and raised in Oak Park and is committed to serving the community. Through Melissa, we were grateful to have Oak Park Bank on board as one of our Birthday Bash sponsors.

Oak Park Bank's partnership with us doesn't stop at the Birthday Bash. They are enthusiastic to support more of our programming and to partner on sharing their own resources for families with the community.  One example of that is the Junior Savers Program. 
A bit more about the Junior Savers Program

Financial literacy and teaching kids about money is an important skill to get started on early and can make a big impact for a healthy financial future. Families who become a part of the Junior Savers Club can be a part of free events, giveaways and take-home activities. Families who are interested can talk to a representative at Oak Park Bank to learn more. 
August at a Glance:

August 1-21: Oak Park Diaper Drive
Copyright © 2022 Collaboration for Early Childhood, All rights reserved.

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