Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana (CCNELA) held their annual meeting last week, recognizing award winners and electing new board members and officers.

Five-year staff members now include Kelsey Brice, Larhonda Elzie, Aven Ford, Misti Guerrero, Sarsobu Jackson, Cara Johnson, Tamiko Johnson, Angie Naron, Ivy Parhms, and Roberta Walker.

Ten-year staff member is Mary Barrios.

Award Winners for 2020 included Friend of the Coalition – Mike Walsworth; Volunteers of the Year – Sarah & Nathan Tremaine; Youth Volunteer of the Year – Hallie Winters; Saul Mintz Early Childhood Champion – Emily Williamson (posthumously).

Award Winners for 2021 included Friend of the Coalition – Stephanie Herrmann and Union Parish Library; Volunteer of the Year – Gerry Binkley; Saul Mintz Early Childhood Champion – Drax Biomass.

Members of the Board of Directors 2021-2022 included Cathy Agan, Kathryn Bagley, Denise Breard, Diana Breen, Caleb Burns, Tommy Carr, Stephanie Carter, Cathi Cox-Boniol, Andrew Dodson, Ashley Gilbert, David Hartt, Laura, Hartt, Leigh Hersey, Myisha Jackson, Jennifer Johnson, Lisa Kiper, Terry Matthews, Lisa Miller, Joe K. Montgomery, Alpa Patel, Cynthia Rodriguez, DeRon Talley, Patience Talley, and Mark Wilson

Board members who completed their terms of service included Janis Barraza, Mark Parrish, and Carmen Sims.

New Officers for the Board of Directors included Mark Wilson, President; Cynthia Rodriguez, Past President; Lisa Kiper, President-Elect; Alpa Patel, Secretary; and David Hartt, Treasurer

“Child care is essential for pandemic response and economic recovery,” said Leann Bond, Executive Director. “Despite the key role child care providers are playing in support of other essential industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, the child care system as a whole is in crisis due to the economic impact. The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana has taken action and has successfully shifted to meet great needs and challenges during the pandemic and extraordinary weather events in our region.”

Meanwhile, in the last year, over 150 child care programs received personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies to assist them in reopening their centers.

“The support our center continues to receive from the Children’s Coalition during the COVID-19 pandemic has been immeasurable and unparalleled,” said Hillary & Don Liu, Ph.D., owners of Ruston Early Learning Center.

Since July 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, CCNELA has provided over 500 coaching sessions and trainings to child care centers throughout our region.

More than 300 Al’s Pals lessons have been taught. This national program gives children tools to identify and manage their emotions.

CCNELA has given hundreds of free gardening, activity kits, and school supplies to families in our community through our Drive-Thru Super Saturday events.

Over 130 children have been served in our Early Head Start centers, and 15 teachers have graduated from our Ancillary Teaching Certificate program.

Thirty-six families have received an array of evidenced-based parenting services that support the development of healthy and caring behaviors in the Children’s Coalition Family Resource Center (FRC).

Hundreds of middle school students have been trained in the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program. CCNELA trained over 450 students in this program just in the last month.

There are 19 Student Ambassadors in our U-ACT program in Union Parish.

The Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems program hosted a virtual baby shower with 60+ participants receiving vital information and gifts.

The Tulane Mental Health Consultation Team has been serving 17 child care centers.

Twenty children served in our Pre-K Expansion program this year.

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