Executive Director's Column
Reva Wywadis
Executive Director

Hello, friends!


The month of January passed in a blink of an eye, and things continue to move at record speed. Child care continues to be a “hot topic” for so many--- families are challenged in most communities to find the care they need to enter and stay in the workforce, and child care programs struggle with workforce challenges that often prohibit them from functioning at full capacity due to lack of qualified teaching staff. While there are no easy answers here, we continue to see glimmers to hope as creative approaches see success and new partners come to the table to lend their support. Across the board, people are recognizing that access to quality child care impacts us all on some level. However, it will take all of us coming together to ensure that the needs of our youngest learners are met and that families are supported. While this is really hard work, it is incredibly essential. We couldn’t do it without you, our friends, and our supporters.

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Agency Highlights & Happenings 

Child Care Aware® of Eastern Kansas will have a booth at the Topeka Area Building Association Home Show, held at the Stormont Vail Events Center in Topeka, February 10-12. “Because of our partnership this year with the Topeka Area Building Association and their support of the Designers’ Showhouse, this was a great opportunity to highlight how this amazing group is supporting our cause,” shared executive director Reva Wywadis. Agency staff and volunteers staffing the booth will have our signature recipe cards with Showhouse information to distribute---- and (of course) information for families that need assistance in finding child care. Come see us!

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Program Events

Nothing brings people together like a celebration, and the agency's Fun Committee knows how to throw a party. Because of the efforts of the Fun Committee, staff have been able to connect more than ever and celebrate some interesting holidays! For example, the agency celebrated National Soup Day at the agency office this month. The staff brought their favorite soups, fixin's and broke bread together during the lunch hour. It was easy to get everyone involved on the cold winter day.

What Our Mission Looks Like in Action

Agency staff have been incredibly busy hosting Communities in Action workshops in our region! Through a Communities in Action workshop, local coalitions of stakeholders receive data and information to help guide their work of developing an action plan to address the child care needs in their community. In 2022, Communities in Action events engaged partners in Shawnee, Riley, Pottawatomie, Geary, Franklin, Anderson, Linn, and Miami counties. In 2023, workshops have been held in Emporia, Frontenac, Ft. Scott, and Lawrence--- and more are on the calendar! If your community is interested in learning more, contact Rhianna Nelson at rhianna@east.ks.childcareaware.org

Volunteer & Engagement Opportunities

The Designers’ Showhouse is BACK in 2023! Volunteer opportunities will soon be posted on the agency website for those that want to get involved. This massive fundraiser raises critically needed funds that support agency programs and services. The amazing and talented Gina Nellis is once again leading this effort as the Showhouse Chair. To be notified of volunteer opportunities, email earlina@east.ks.childcareaware.org.

You can also support the Showhouse financially. Show your support by adding your signature to our page in the Showhouse program book. Click below for more details and to add your support, helping us reach our goal of at least 100 signatures on this page!

Interested in supporting our cause through advertising or sponsorship opportunities? Contact reva@east.ks.childcareaware.org or julie@east.ks.childcareaware.org for all the details!

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Board & Staff...

2023 Board of Directors

Cherie Sage, President

Dawn Bicknell-Reiser, President-Elect

Jamie Stafford, Secretary

Erin Lewis, Treasurer

Catherine Deters, Treasurer-Elect

Liz Steffen, Immediate Past President

Lucinda Anstaett

Amy Bauer

Joe Beasley

Deb Crowl

Donna Doel

Natalie Gordon

Catherine Shafer

Kelly Trussell

Staff Members

Reva Wywadis, Executive Director;

Diana Ingram-Cantrell, Accountant;

Julie Scott, Marketing & Communications


Holly Wehner, Data Specialist;

Earlina Faurot, Administrative Assistant;

Rhianna Nelson, Community Outreach & Engagement Manager

Nancy Rohr, Family Services Manager;

Lori Boos (Team Leader), Jasmin Cortes, Christina Nicklin, Resource Specialists;

Michelle Gilbert, Talia Juiliano, Renee Wohletz,

Provider Services Managers;

Melisa Ruiz, Autumn Ryser, Regional Community Consultants;

Dawn Brown, Mary Murphy, Professional Development Specialists;

Breanna Gellings, Grants Navigator;

Grace Cott, Audrey Danielson, Susan Drewelow, Debbie Hildebrandt, Susan Rodman, Early Care & Education Specialists;

Deb Danielson, Kristina Griffee, Tia Wright, Child Care Health Consultants;

Jane Redger (Team Leader), Jennie Heim, Ashley Buss, Successful Connections Parent Resource Specialists;

Stephanie Prue, Library Resource Specialist

Marie Treichel, Special Projects & Initiatives Coordinator;

ERC Resource & Referral, Inc., d/b/a Child Care Aware® of Eastern Kansas supports the healthy development of young children by improving access to high-quality child care options and educational resources for families and early childhood professionals.
1100 SW Wanamaker Rd. Topeka, KS 66604 • (785) 357-5171 • https://east.ks.childcareaware.org
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