From Lori’s Laptop – April 2017

From Lori’s Laptop – April 2017

April is Child Abuse Awareness month and I can’t think of a better way to start April than to announce that we are holding our very first Community Café. This Café is for parents and is the first in a series of guided conversations based on the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework. It involves leadership and parents partnering in conversations that are meaningful and supportive.

We know that all parents need support, connections and information about child development in order to build on their family strengths and to raise a happy and healthy family. Community Cafes provide the opportunity to simply talk in a safe environment where there are no “experts” per se, but conversations that allow parents to reach out for help and support.

Parenting can be lonely. Parenting can be hard. Knowing you’re not alone is important and building a community of parents is key to building strong families and providing connections.

Our first Community Café: Building a Strong Relationship With Your Child is being held on Thursday, April 27th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with childcare and a meal provided. It is being held at the Marian Pritchett campus and Giraffe Laugh 3 located at 1617 No. 24th Street. Please let your site director know or email us at the main office if you’d like to participate in this momentous event. Email Simone Olive at simone@giraffelaugh.org ALL parents, past and present and their friends are welcome.

We are so excited to be holding a Café for our parents and if you’d like to help as a table host or as a childcare provider, or bringing a meal, please let us know! You can volunteer by emailing Kat Davis at kat@giraffelaugh.org

Let’s keep kids safe and empower our parents this special month of April.

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, March 2017

March brings the promise of spring and the luck o’ the Irish to our doors. As they say, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.”

With spring comes new growth and it reminds us how quickly time flies especially as we watch our little ones emerge with new growth every time we turn around.

It is nature’s way that children are constantly changing and as they change so do we, their parents. Adapting to new skills and language abilities and cognitive leaps, such as they now argue with everything, means parents are kept on their toes.

This never ending evolution results in rare times of settling in and feeling like there is NEVER a status quo. It can be exhausting, exciting, invigorating, confusing, difficult, and fantastic all at once.

In March we are all Irish yet good parenting may require more than luck. All parents need support and connections and ideas when they are at a loss, or even when they’re not! For those times we lock ourselves in the bathroom, want to scream yet we don’t, call a friend or our mom, good parenting takes on many shapes and forms. It’s not easy, but it is filled with joy and the promise of a new beginning.

Empowering parents is a core activity and value at Giraffe Laugh. Families stay strong when parents thrive. We have a wonderful opportunity to participate in something called Community Cafés which are designed for parents to come together to share ideas, stories, find support and to share information that will empower you and your family life. If you are a current or past parent at Giraffe Laugh, please take our survey to let us know if you’re interested in participating: Parent Café Survey

Irish Proverb: May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.

Happy St. Patrick’ Day and Happy spring!

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, February 2017

Welcome to the month of LOVE. One thing I love about this month is that it also sports the Early Childhood Legislative Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 8th. We will be down there with our kids in their T-shirts who will be participating in BLOCK Fest. This day is dedicated to young children and their importance in our state and our world.

Children are important. When we at Giraffe Laugh say, “We can see the future from here,” we truly mean it. Children are our future and they will be carrying us into a future someday that is unimaginable right now. I want the best for them and I know you do as well.

Please take some time to let our state leaders know how you feel about our kids and their future. The Capitol is yours and the Legislators want to hear from YOU. They work for you, and it’s never too late to get involved.  Check here for information on upcoming bills in Idaho: https://legislature.idaho.gov/

If you aren’t sure how you feel about a certain subject, learn about it. There are so many resources out there however be sure you fact check what you read. Facebook is not always the best source for accurate information. Reputable sources include:

Center on the Developing Child: http://developingchild.harvard.edu/ with a really cool video on brain development.

Idaho Kids Count: http://idahokidscount.org/ for statistical data that is local.

National Association for the Education of Young Children: https://www.naeyc.org

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children:  http://idahoaeyc.org/ a great local resource for parents and teachers.

United Way of Treasure Valley: https://www.unitedwaytv.org/ They have great information on A.L.I.C.E.

Have a happy, wonderful, love filled month and if you dive into issues and learn something new, please share it with us. We want to hear what you think and what you’ve learned. Thank you for your part in helping us raise healthy, happy, loved children that we are sending into the future.

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, January 2017

The promise of a new year is upon us and with it comes the knowledge that we all love new beginnings. It could be the new beginning of finding out one is pregnant. It could be the new beginning of a newborn and the gifts they bring to the world. It could be the new beginning of a job or school that will earn us what we crave most, stability, independence or both.

Whatever your new beginnings are this month, we wish you the very best and want you to know how wonderful it feels to be a part of your journey in the coming year. We are grateful that you trusted us with your children, your family, your resources and your time this past year and we hope we honored your gifts with our work.

We are incredibly grateful for all of the gifts, surprises and people that entered our lives in 2016 and look forward with that universal excitement to the new beginning of 2017 and our time with all of you. Thank you and we hope to see you very soon.

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, December 2016

The kindness and generosity of strangers is abundant this season. Having our Festival of Tree’s Tree donated back, having anxious families be “adopted” by generous donors to make Christmas dreams come true, having hunger abated with an abundance of food donated and packaged by loving people, having a group of actors put on a play for us to raise money and awareness. All of these acts of kindness and giving makes me aware every year of what a wonderful community we live in.

I hope that your holidays are full of holiday miracles but if it’s not what you’d expected or hoped for, I hope that you find the kindness of strangers to be comforting and that you remember to be gentle with yourself. The holidays can come with so many expectations of joy and harmony when the reality is that it’s just another time of year for some.

Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Be generous with yourself and be generous with others. The best present one can give is their presence so if you feel you have very little to give, give someone your time, a listening ear, a special phone call or a card.

I can’t express how grateful I am to all of you for changing lives that I get to see every day. We are truly honored by your generosity and kindness and we hope that you realize how important you are to our mission of ensuring school readiness, empowering families and building strong futures.

We are excited for 2017 but for now will bask in the gentle glow of generosity that we find ourselves surrounded by during this holiday season. May your holiday be peaceful and full of as much happiness as we know you deserve. Thank you.

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, November 2016

We normally think of November as the month when winter begins to descend upon us and growth isn’t really on our minds as it is in spring. However, our Futures Begin Here Luncheon is focused this year on growing with a theme of “here we grow”.

We see growth in our kids each day as their little bodies take in delicious food and they can now choose items previously out of reach. We see growth in their vocabulary as they expand a few words into sentences and learn to describe their project in scientific terms. We see growth in their knowledge and skills that will serve them well in kindergarten. We also see growth in the need for quality care as phone calls keep coming in and we know we need to grow our organization to meet the need.

What an amazing year we’ve had at Giraffe Laugh watching our kids, families and organization grow. So many of you are a part of our growth and success this year, therefore, we would love for you to join us at our luncheon on November 9th from 12-1pm to see the impact of your generous gift. Please RSVP no later than Friday, November 4th if you are able to join us.

We give thanks to you for your time, talent, and treasures that you bring to our Giraffe Laugh family. We wish you a very peaceful and loving Thanksgiving season with those you love the most. Happy Holidays!

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, October 2016

Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” This rings so true for our organization every fall as the events, traditions and wonderful holidays suddenly come to the forefront. We were so amazed at the response to Hyde Park Street Fair Children’s Area. A special thank you to all those that volunteered or came to support by buying tickets. The funds raised will support scholarships for our kids and that isn’t possible without all of you. We are now moving on to the seasonal happenings.

Getting started on the season means peddling harder than normal this year with a fourth center that just celebrated their one year anniversary. The staff there has done such an amazing job and we are so fortunate to have all of the families and children who are now a part of the Giraffe Laugh family.

With so many things coming up it’s important to keep in mind that we take a deep breath and enjoy the fall leaves (if it ever dips below 90) and our traditions we love so much as our GL family. I look forward to seeing you at some of the following events and I hope your fall is filled with the sweet warmth of family and friends. Let’s get this party started!

Monday, October 31st: Halloween Parades. Each center has their own traditions!

Wednesday, November 9th: Futures Begin Here Luncheon 12-1 Riverside Hotel

October/November: Parent-Teacher conferences are held. Each center has their own times and dates.

October/November: Visits to the pumpkin patch. Each center has their own times and dates.

November: Food baskets for Thanksgiving and Christmas sign-up sheets goes out to donate food and to receive food.

November: Christmas adoptions are made and families are paired by Ms. Beverly beverly@giraffelaugh.org

November: Giraffe Laugh has a tree at the St. Alphonsus Festival of Trees.

December 3: The Dinner Theater Play “Reunion” put on by the Capitol City Kiwanas to benefit Giraffe Laugh. Located at the El Korah Shrine. No host cocktails 5:30-6:30, dinner 6:45, play begins at 8. Silent Auction and fun for all. Tickets will go on sale soon. We need help with the following: selling tickets, making desserts to auction, obtaining items to auction and participation at the event. Please let Mary know if you’re interested in helping with any of those things. mary@giraffelaugh.org

December: Santa Claus visits the centers. Date TBD

January: Take a nap.

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, September 2016

The crisp air in the morning coupled with the leggy petunias waiting to be plucked back remind me that fall is only a few weeks away. As the change of season approaches we anticipate so much in the coming months. We have fabulous, fun, family activities that include fundraising for our children and programs at Teleya, Hyde Park and Payette Brewing.

Shortly thereafter on November 9th we will have our third annual Futures Begin Here Luncheon and we hope you’ll join us. If you want to attend as a guest or would like to know more about how to be a Table Captain for this event, please let us know soon. It takes all of you to help make this day successful and the inspiration from the stories are beyond amazing this year! Contact Mary at mary@giraffelaugh.org.

If you haven’t attended a Little Shoes Big Dreams Tour yet, please do! We have room in the coming months and would love it if you joined us. The dates are 9/8, 9/29, 10/6, 10/20 and 10/27.

You are the folks that makes the magic happen. When I was able to cuddle the newborns on the first day of school at Marian Pritchett it was amazing to watch the volunteers rally around the babies and help the teachers make the day seem almost normal. We can’t do it without you and we don’t want to. Thank you for all you do to enrich and strengthen children’s lives and I hope I see you soon!

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, August 2016

The dog days of summer are upon us and while we’re embroiled in the heat of summer, our minds shift to this month one year ago when we opened a new center for 75 children, Giraffe Laugh 4. It was a tense time as we didn’t open on time and the Giraffe Laugh 4 kids and teachers resided at Giraffe Laugh 2 for a few weeks until they could claim their own territory. I am always struck by the incredible teamwork of our teachers and how we truly feel like a family caring for each other.

That family feel came alive during the Annual Luau this year at Municipal Park. It was a time to celebrate the last year and all of our families joining in the summer traditions of old; such as three-legged races and potato sack races. What fun we have when we all act like kids!

simon

We also celebrated the service of one of our treasured board members, Jules Joy. As we say here, once a board member, always a board member, but we kept up with the tradition of writing a special poem about her and this is a picture of her receiving it. Thank you, Jules!

jules and lori

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.
-Edna Buchannan

Read more

From Lori’s Laptop, July 2016

My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” Abraham Lincoln.

July we celebrate all that America stands for and the pride we have in our country. As we instill in our children that pride, the words of Abraham Lincoln said so long ago, ring true today as we navigate a world that seems so complicated and unsettling. I’m certain though that what President Lincoln hoped to accomplish seemed unthinkable and impossible. It’s that sort of patriotism and courage that we can admire and aspire to.

As you celebrate with our little ones I hope you have a chance to tell them about history and how we became a country. I hope you share with them their part in the process as future voters. I hope you share with them that we don’t all agree, but we all love freedom.

I hope you share with them that we are made up of so many different cultures that all came here believing that we are the last best hope of earth and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that we live up to that vision.

Happy 4th of July!

Read more