Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. In January, TCMedia Mission Nonprofit host Andrea Capere sat down with Melanie Kincaid, development and communications manager for Child Care Action Council (CACC).
Since 1987, the CACC has promoted and nurtured early learning communities for children. Their focus is on children from birth through 5-years-old for the majority of their programs; their Safe Kids program serves children ages 1- to 19-years-old. The CACC services the following counties: Thurston, Grays Harbor, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam. Kincaid work for the Thurston and Olympic Peninsula branch, working to address specific needs in our area.
In Thurston County alone, the CACC serves over 6,000 families a year. From car seat demonstrations to life jacket loaner boards, the CACC provides education, tools, materials and supplies, to help parents care for their children. In 2018, they gave over 1,200 safety items including car seats, C02 detectors and helmets.
Early Learning Access
“We know that early learning is such a huge developmental stage for our children,” Kincaid shares with Capere. “They’re learning the most, they have all these neural connections that they’re making and if they don’t have that access to early learning, that doesn’t happen or it happens at a slower rate.”
The CACC recognizes that low income families do not have the same opportunities for early learning. They work with providers and child care centers to find ways to help these families gain access to early learning programs. In addition, they provide support for the parents and caregivers, including tools and education to help them nurture their children’s development.
To that end, they have several programs that focus on these goals:
Early Achievers is a rating system that parents can use to look at a child care center and know they are meeting state standards. The CACC works with the centers to get them up to standard and have continuing education opportunities for the providers and their staff.
Raising a Reader is a program that teaches parents how to be their child’s first teacher, and gives them the tools to teach their child to read and to instill the love of reading in them. “We teach them how to engage with their children,” shares Kincaid, “making reading fun and making that routine every night reading with their child a possibility.” In Thurston County alone they have 800 children in this program.
Kaleidoscope Play and Learn Group is a program for friends, family, neighbors – basically anyone who may be a caregiver for that child – to learn about a child’s development and give them the tools to help the child progress. There are two of these groups in Thurston County.
Family volunteer projects is a new program that started in November 2018. Every month families come together to volunteer as a family. Children ages 2- to 5-years-old are the focus, but all ages are welcome. There is a book that accompanies it. They will also get together with the Kaleidoscope Play and Learn Group and work on an activity that nurtures the children’s development.
All of the CACC’s programs are free, supported by grants and individual and business donations. The CACC is always looking for volunteers – whether on the board of directors or for specific programs and events. Donations are of course always welcome to support their mission. To learn more about their full range of programs and services that are available, or to volunteer or donate, visit the Child Care Action Council website.
You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or on their Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thuston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.