If there was anyone who didn’t know before that child care providers are essential, they know now.
The UFT Family Child Care Providers Chapter held its eighth annual appreciation celebration on May 7. It was a day to honor providers and the work they have done to keep the city running throughout the pandemic — keeping their doors open to take care of the children of police, fire and medical personnel and other front-line workers.
The theme of this year’s event summed it up: Perseverance Through Unprecedented Times.
“You were there when children, families and other essential workers needed you the most,” Chapter Chair Tammie Miller said in her opening remarks. “What courage, selflessness, kindness and bravery you’ve shown during such challenging times.”
More than 200 members joined the ceremony on Zoom. UFT President Michael Mulgrew told them, “You stepped up when the city locked down and took care of essential workers and their families.”
The virtual ceremony featured red-carpet backdrops and a dazzling graphics display. Miller said the chapter mailed the honorees T-shirts, framed citations and photographs of the Zoom screen when their name was announced. “We wanted them to feel special,” said Miller. “They had a difficult year.”
Miller said providers went to extra lengths to serve their communities, donating groceries to families as food insecurity became evident. Some providers had staff members deliver the food since many parents were not sending their children to day care.
Edna Elcock, the founder of the Genesis Family Group Day Care in Brooklyn and a member of the chapter board, was among the 16 providers honored. “I’ve been to many other ceremonies, but this is my first time being honored,” said Elcock. The ceremony lets providers like her know that their hard work is appreciated, she said.
Shannon Ramsey, the founder of Step with Purpose in Brooklyn, was also honored. “They showed us how much we are loved and needed,” Ramsey said.
“Sometimes we need that extra thank you and encouragement,” she added. “To see family members rooting on moms, wives and aunts, that’s priceless.”