Celebrate 125 years with Collective Groove

Dust off your dance shoes and be ready to shake a tail feather at our anniversary celebration! Early Connections only turns 125 years old once, and it wouldn’t be a celebration of historic proportions without a proper dance party. The 9-piece brass horn band Collective Groove, comprised of the finest musicians in southern Colorado, will bring their timeless horn-powered grooves from the Golden Age of Soul along with the funkiest modern-day beats to create an epic dance party.  Even if you don’t dance, it’s going to be an over-the-top good time.

FUN FACT: The lead singer, TC Chavez, grew up in Colorado Springs and attended
Early Connections as a young child! He first started singing in second grade, and was
inspired by the sounds of Motown and artists like The Temptations, Smokey Robinson
and the Miracles, and the Chi-Lites.

Final Week of the Supply Drive,
ending August 12

Since we launched our Supply Drive on July 27th, we have received many Amazon boxes – thank you! It sparks so much joy for our teachers and students to see all the wonderful materials they’ll use in their classrooms to create, explore, think, and celebrate. Which items do you think students would be most excited to see? Watch this short video of a student helping open boxes and sharing what she finds inside.

This is the final week of our Supply Drive, and many items remain, including STEM kits, puzzles, beads, and bulletin board stickers. You can still shop our Amazon List to directly purchase supplies or make a monetary donation.
You Can Still Donate!
$150 provides all supplies for one child
$50 provides a puzzle, book, and paint pack
$25 provides one pack of rainbow-colored washable ink pads

Make sure to login to your Amazon account first to view our supply list and start shopping. Questions? Contact Nicole Schiff, 719-381-4803 or nschiff@earlyconnections.org

The theme at Early Connections this quarter is CURRICULM! Our new President and CEO, Liz Denson, shares how you’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek at the unique, high-quality educational program our teachers use in the classroom. In the coming months, hear directly from our team of experts how we meet the needs for all children in a way that’s developmentally appropriate for their age. Liz also invites you to a party of historic proportions – celebrate with us on October 1st! 

Celebrating 125 years of paving the way for a bold and bright future!

Saturday, October 1, 2022
DoubleTree by Hilton, Colorado Springs
6:00 – 10:00 pm
Cocktail Attire

Become a sponsor and be front and center for the celebration.
Email nschiff@earlyconnections.org

We are excited to introduce Ashley Groves as the Vice President of Community Engagement. Ashley is replacing Liz Denson as Liz steps into the role as CEO and President effective July 1, 2022.  Ashley leads a dynamic team of highly skilled individuals who are committed to building strong relationships to support you and our community as we continue to serve families with safe and nurturing early childhood education! Given all the exciting changes happening, we invite you to read more about our incredible team below.  

Ashley is not a new face to our organization! In 2016 Ashley was instrumental in establishing the foundation and building blocks of our volunteer program. Most recently, Ashley served as the Director of Community Engagement for Community Action Council of Howard County; a 57-year-old nonprofit in Columbia, Maryland that is the sole provider of Head Start for 362 children and serves more than 54,000 individuals with housing assistance, energy assistance, and food assistance. Ashley was critical in establishing and stewarding strategic partnerships and relationships to create sustainable funding sources for the organization. She brings energy and excitement to those around her and her passion for her work is contagious. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and holds a certificate in Leadership from Loyola University Maryland Selinger School of Business and Management. Originally hailing from a land of 10,000 lakes, she now resides in Colorado with her active-duty husband, son, and pup! She loves to run, cook, and lives for college football season.    

Nicole is a new addition to our team, but has been part of the local nonprofit community since 2011. She most recently took a two-year hiatus to support the global expansion of a Colorado-based tech company. She has managed and led initiatives for strengthening community engagement and support for major public institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She has worked in Latin America as an archeologist, supported award-winning exhibitions and events at the Fine Arts Center, CS Philharmonic, UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art, and most recently helped raise funds to build a 92,000 sq-ft arts complex. Nicole’s penchant for people, culture, food, and learning means you may often find her inviting you to join around a table for a meal, libations, and lively conversation.

Melissa worked at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center for nearly a decade before joining Early Connections Learning Centers in 2013. She has a proven track record of using data-driven approaches to achieve strategic goals, especially in digital marketing. Combined with her meticulous attention to detail and
creativity, Melissa has supported some of the most successful and memorable signature events at the FAC and Early Connections. She also films and produces many of the video content pieces you see in our emails and on our social media channels. Melissa finds working in early childhood education to be exciting and deeply rewarding. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys visiting local breweries
and supporting local arts organizations like Millibo Art Theatre and GOCA with her husband and daughter.    

Audrey Carlson was born and raised in Colorado Springs, and after studying abroad in Denmark, decided to pursue a degree in Economics with a double minor in Political Science and Geography at the University of Denver. While attending DU, Audrey took courses that expanded upon her interest in supporting and uplifting women and children through courses that included Feminist Economics, Urban Economics, and a geography course on the human population. She is continuing to learn about the needs of her local community and how to create opportunities regardless of income level.

As a parent, guardian or caregiver, we know the importance of access to safe, reliable, and affordable child care. Kim Roberson, a parent and board member at Early Connections, endured what would be any parents’ nightmare.

Watch her video interview with President & CEO, Diane Price and VP of Community Engagement, Liz Denson to learn more about the unthinkable her and her children faced. Kim also speaks about the transformation that took place since coming to Early Connections, sharing how the love, care, nurturing, transparency, and education we provide our youngest children inspired her to join our board.