Bridges Child Enrichment Center received a grant of $1,500 from the John and Sally Mielke Early Years Fund for the Fox Valley to sponsor the 5th annual National Week of the Young Child event on April 11 at the Community Early Learning Center (CELC) with the theme “Growing Kindness.”
By Carolyn Desrosiers
Early Childhood Education has long been a passion for John and Sally Mielke. In 2018, their tireless community leadership inspired nearly 200 families, individuals, businesses and other organizations to come together and donate to establish a permanent charitable endowment fund in their names at the Community Foundation. Contributions to the John and Sally Mielke Early Years Fund for the Fox Valley now total over $350,000 to support innovative programs serving the needs of young children and their families.
The first grant from the fund will continue in the spirit of bringing people together by supporting a free event for families with young children. On Thursday, April 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., the Community Early Learning Center (CELC) (located at 313 S. State St. in Appleton) will host its 5th annual National Week of the Young Child event with the theme “Growing Kindness.”
The event features music, games, dance and yoga as well as a community resource fair and developmental screenings. The grant of $1,500 will help families bring the learning back home by providing free copies of the book “How Kind” by Mary Murphy.
“This is our 5th annual event and is the only community event that celebrates the Week of the Young Child,” said Bridges Child Enrichment Center director Nicole Desten.
Bridges is one of five organizations housed within the CELC, including Appleton Even Start Family Literacy, AASD Birth to Five Programs, Early Intervention Program, and UW-Oshkosh Head Start, all of which played a role in organizing Thursday’s event.
Since its opening in September 2014, the CELC has been a focal point and a rallying site for early childhood in our community. Currently, CELC partner programs, in collaboration with Lawrence University, UW-Fox Valley and Healthy Minds Innovation, are implementing and researching a mindfulness-based kindness curriculum to enhance educational programs. This project was funded by a $296,450 grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc. and other community partners.
“We’re pleased to award this first grant that honors John and Sally’s passion for the development of children in the Fox Valley. This is the first of many grants made in their names to support young people and their families. Special thanks to the many donors who make this possible,” said Curt Detjen, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.
All are welcome to attend the Week of the Young Child event. (Registration is not required.)