Look back at 2011

Before plunging into the New Year, I thought I’d take a glance back at 2011. And what I saw prompted a double-take. Wow. Here’s a sampling:

Founders Lunch – In early March, Best Beginnings held a Founders & Friends lunch in Anchorage. Our purpose was to thank our longtime supporters, welcome newer friends, and give everyone a snapshot of how far we’ve come in just over four years. We didn’t realize it would be so much fun, too.

“It all starts in the puppy pen” – That’s the motto of four-time Iditarod champ Martin Buser and a perfect metaphor for our work. Martin and local video company Sprocketheads donated their time to produce a fabulous TV spot for us, touting the benefits of early learning. See it here.

Imagination Library – There was plenty of good news related to Imagination Library in Alaska. We were recognized by Dolly Parton with a special video greeting; more than 16,000 Alaska children are now enrolled; and evaluations are showing that Imagination Library can make a big and positive difference in young children’s lives. Plus, our plea for volunteer help at Anchorage Imagination Library brought out lots of talent.

Early Childhood Partnerships – In just the second year of implementing their strategic plans, the 10 Best Beginnings partnerships made great progress in 2011. They are doing exciting things to mobilize their communities for the benefit of young children and their families. Get a taste of what they’re doing in Homer and Ketchikan.

Babies on Track – We devoted tremendous time and energy to a new project to be unveiled in February. It’s a 14-minute video produced in Alaska with Alaskans that guides parents through the very important ways they interact with their young children. There are also two companion baby board books. And TV public service announcements. We’re very proud and very excited about Babies on Track – and the 100+ premieres of the video around Alaska, Feb. 25 to March 4. Watch a preview.

New Website – We redesigned and reorganized the Best Beginnings website. It’s now much easier to navigate, whether you’re looking for children’s activities, ongoing projects, or ways you can help. Redoing a website is a formidable challenge, but it sure was worth it!

The New Year has just begun, and there’s lots of work to do if we are serious about making our vision a reality: All Alaska children begin school ready to succeed. We’re raring to go and look forward to working with you on the important challenges ahead.

Happy New Year!