The banquet room was abuzz at the Lacey Community Center on February 21 for the 11th Annual Warm Hearts Luncheon benefitting the Child Care Action Council (CCAC). Over 180 community members came together to show their support for children, families, and early learning.
The event was successful in raising over $32,000 to support the CCAC Family Services Program, including BlockFest, Kaleidoscope Play and Learn, Parents as Teachers, Raising A Reader, Margie’s Crisis Nursery, and Safe Kids Thurston County. Each program provides early learning support or services for families and impacts the lives of over 6,000 young children each year.
“Thanks to the community’s support, we are able to bring joy to a child who receives new books through our Raising A Reader program, or relief to a mother who knows their child will be safely cared for in a time of emergency through Margie’s Crisis Nursery,” said Gary Burris, Executive Director at CCAC. “Children and their families benefit from our wide range of early learning services and activities, which can only be continued through the strong support of our community.”
Keynote speaker Karma Hugo, Director of Early Learning with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) spoke to the importance of early education and its long term effects on the overall academic and social success of children entering kindergarten and throughout their life.
To close the event, guest speaker and Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim gave an inspiring appeal about the meaning of hope. “Why are you here?” he asked the crowd. He surmised that many were there to support children. But more than that, Tunheim noted, is the need for hope in our community and our future. Because ultimately, to invest in children and education is to invest in the future of our larger community.
Warm Hearts title sponsor WSECU is one such organization that invests in education, and makes a significant impact in our community by supporting children and their families. In a statement, WSECU responded to their title sponsorship as, “WSECU is proud to sponsor the essential work of the Child Care Action Council. All children deserve to start their early learning journeys supported by high quality, safe childcare.”
WSECU also sponsored event tables for child care providers as a way to acknowledge the many teachers in our community that ensure children are cared for in a safe and nurturing environment, and that they are prepared for kindergarten and beyond. We appreciate the million things they do each day to make sure our kids are safe and learning while parents are working!
The 11th annual Warm Hearts fundraiser also received financial sponsorship from many other local businesses and organizations, including program sponsors Molina Healthcare, Neil Woody McSwain & Company, and Olympia Federal Savings. As well as sustaining sponsorship from Alaffia, Commencement Bank, Forma Construction, Kiley Juergens Wealth Management, and Twin Star Credit Union. Community sponsors included Bron’s automotive, GHB Insurance, Graphic Communications, Heritage Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Nicholson & Associates Insurance, The Other Guys Inc., Sound Credit Union, Tammy’s Ceramic Shop, and Timberland Bank.
After making their generous contributions, Warm Hearts guests walked away with a renewed sense of hope in their community and an improved understanding of early learning programs at the Child Care Action Council. Guests also received unique ceramic bowls, hand-painted by children at local child care centers; a great way to remember a special cause, and a memento that many guests have continued to collect throughout the years.