Provider Appreciation Awards Ceremony
“There are all sorts of things going wrong with this world. But what I know is going right is that our children, our future generations, are being nurtured and educated by great providers,” UFT Family Child Care Providers Chapter Chair Tammie Miller told the more than 250 people gathered in Shanker Hall at UFT headquarters for the 9th annual Provider Appreciation Awards Ceremony.
The May 13 event honored outstanding members of the chapter and offered the chance for their families and colleagues to celebrate their extraordinary work.
“I love the fact that the UFT makes the providers feel important — that we count,” said Jacqueline Baker, the owner of Miss Jackie’s Family Day Care in Manhattan, who accepted a Chapter Leadership Award. Her work “is not babysitting,” she said, but “teaching, meeting with parents to discuss children’s needs and resolving issues.”
“I love the interaction with the families,” Baker added.
New York State Sen. Jabari Brisport, a former UFT member, was the keynote speaker. Brisport and other speakers noted how the challenges of the pandemic highlighted just how important child care is. “Any economic recovery requires a robust child care system,” he said, “but you don’t do it for economic recovery.”
Brisport recognized that as union members, family child care providers “know that future successes rely on us giving our effort to something greater than any single one of us.” As “educators,” he said, child care providers “understand that the seeds we nourish today will bear fruit for generations to come.”
Cynthia Reed, the owner of LovingKindness Group Family Daycare and the recipient of the Jon Kest Award, named for the founder of New York Communities for Change, agreed with Brisport that there has been improved recognition for providers’ work. “We’re gaining more respect from the state,” she said, attributing the improvement not just to increased need, but to the work of the UFT.
“The union protects us and gives us knowledge when we run into issues,” said Reed, who has been a member since the city’s family child care providers joined the UFT in 2007. “The union has always been there for us,” she said.
Longtime UFT Paraprofessionals Chapter Chair Shelvy Young-Abrams was honored with the Union Leadership Award.
The theme of the event was Celebrating Culture and Diversity, which providers saw as a fitting reflection of their calling. “Every day,” said Miller, “many of you child care providers open your home and your doors and your hearts to families and children from all ethnicities, cultures, creeds and backgrounds.”