AOK Logo
     P.O. Box 8477 ~ New Haven, CT 06530 ~ 203-772-2294 ~ All Our Kin's website ~ All Our Kin's blog

December 2013

Happy Holidays!  

2013 has been an exciting year for All Our Kin. Over the course of the past year, we've been able to reach nearly 300 family child care providers, serving roughly 1,800 children. We've expanded our work with caregivers, children and families in New Haven, Bridgeport, and beyond. We're also finding new ways to deepen our impact in areas like children's mental health and parent engagement. None of this would be possible without the generosity of supporters like you.

At All Our Kin, we believe that all children, no matter where they live or what their parents earn, deserve to begin their lives with all the advantages, all the tools, and all the experiences that we, as a society, are capable of giving them. Otherwise, we all suffer. Not only today, when parents agonize over their children's inadequate care; not only tomorrow, when children aren't prepared for school; but permanently, in our vision of ourselves as a nation committed to equity and justice for all.

We look forward to continuing our work with family child care providers in the year ahead, as we strive to fulfill our vision for empowering providers to become successful small business owners and sources of support and strength for their communities. 

Our warm wishes for a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year,

Donate Now!
Every dollar makes twice the difference. 

When you support All Our Kin this holiday season, your gift to caregivers, children, and families  will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000, thanks to the continued generosity of the TK Foundation.

News from All Our Kin
All Our Kin hosted two exciting benefit events last month. First, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Bridgeport launch with an evening at the Bijou Theater featuring special guest Alison Stewart. The following night, we returned to New Haven's Bentara restaurant for our annual gathering with old friends and new supporters. To read provider Jabeen Hasan's moving speech from our New Haven benefit, please click here.
Last month, the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame named All Our Kin's co-founders, Jessica Sager and Janna Wagner, as Education and Empowerment Honorees for 2013. They were recognized as "[i]nnovative leaders lifting standards and availability of childcare and empowering women to become childcare providers." We are so proud of Janna and Jessica for receiving this honor! To learn more about the award, you can check out our blog post.
Program spotlight: All Our Kin collaborates with the 
Yale University Art Gallery
A few weeks ago, All Our Kin staff and providers focused intently on drawing basic and complex shapes from pieces in the Yale University Art Gallery's African Art collection. "The room was silent as we each took white pencil to black paper to create," said Janna Wagner, co-director of All Our Kin. "And the intensity, the 

concentration, the energy was palpable. The providers, inspired by the art, were creating just as they ask young children to do every day. They were personally experiencing the power of art to inspire learning." 


The activity was part of a new collaboration between All Our Kin and the Gallery to help All Our Kin providers deepen their understanding of and strategies for engaging young children with art, both in their programs and through visits to art museums. Janna designed the collaboration between All Our Kin and the Gallery together with Dana Holahan, All Our Kin's Professional Development Coordinator, and Jessica Sack, the Gallery's Senior Associate Curator of Public Education


Over the course of the two-workshop series, providers grew comfortable with the Gallery's spaces and rules and participated in a range of gallery-safe art activities. In the process of creating and analyzing art, providers planned ways to bring more art-based experiences to the children in their programs. "I've been with All Our Kin a long time," All Our Kin provider Rosella noted during the second workshop, "but they still surprise me a lot, like by bringing us here to talk about kids and art." 

During one activity, we used sculpture as an avenue to collaboration. We knelt on the floor in front of a metal sculpture, which our guide encouraged us to model with clay. Then she asked us to trade our piece with someone else and add to their sculpture. "What does it feel like to collaborate?" our guide asked as providers laughed and traded sculptures with one another. Collaborative art experiences like this one are likely a novel idea for many providers, and will open up multiple new curriculum possibilities for their programs. 

Many All Our Kin providers are already incorporating visual arts-based experiences into their curricula, and at the end of the second workshop providers shared their strategies for incorporating art into their programs. Teresa described how she loads a simple mesh screen with paint and lets children run a toothbrush over it to create layers of color on papers held underneath. Marķa Edith tailors her work with children around the intention of individual artists, including Piet Mondrian and Vasily Kandinsky. Providers left the workshops with lots of tips for using art as a springboard for learning, both from the Gallery's guides and from each other.


For many of our providers, these workshops were their first time setting foot in the Yale University Art Gallery. By the conclusion of the workshop series, providers were full of ideas for future learning at the Gallery and excited to return to the Gallery's collections with children from their programs and from their own families. 


We're grateful to the Gallery's staff for welcoming us and helping us feel at home in their collections and on Yale's campus, and we're excited that these workshops have given our providers new strategies for engaging young children through art. 

How an All Our Kin Early Head Start program 
supported Lillian and her children 

When Lillian first encountered All Our Kin, she was living in the Life Haven homeless shelter with her two young children. Their father had recently become incarcerated. Lillian was studying to get her master's degree in social work, but finding child care was proving a barrier to completing her studies and securing a job. Her two oldest children could stay in the child care at Life Haven for the time being, but Lillian was pregnant with her third child. She knew she would need a place for her youngest daughter after she was born.

Lillian and her children, Daniel, Danasia, and Daniella


In the summer of 2011, Lillian met Carlos, All Our Kin's Family Advocate. Carlos helped Lillian enroll her youngest daughter, Danasia, in All Our Kin's Early Head Start program, which we run in collaboration with the United Way of Greater New Haven. Through Early Head Start, Lillian was able to obtain free, full-day care for Danasia at Little Flowers Family Day Care, run by All Our Kin provider Nicole Richardson.

As the youngest of twelve children, Nicole grew up caring for many young nieces and nephews. "I always wanted to do day care," Nicole says, "but I didn't know how to get started." After sending her own daughter to an All Our Kin provider for child care, Nicole sought out mentorship and professional development from All Our Kin and ultimately became one of our first Early Head Start (EHS) providers. When she got to know Lillian, Nicole recalls feeling that Lillian was an extraordinary person with a great personality and calm spirit. "Lillian was a different and a special case," Nicole says. "It was something in her that my heart reached out to." 


To learn how Lillian's daughter Danasia developed and flourished in Nicole's program, please click here.

In addition to making a donation to All Our Kin, please consider making your holiday purchases through Amazon Smile. It's a great, free way to support our work. 
Stay In Touch: 
Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter  Visit our blog