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 just didn’t realize it would be so much fun, too.
Thanks to loyal friends and able allies, we have made significant progress on the recommendations first made by the Alaska Ready to Read, Ready to Learn Task Force back in September 2006. The Task Force recommendations cover three areas: steps that can be taken at home, in child care and early education programs away from home, and for the long-term sustainability of investment in early childhood.
Looking back and seeing what has been accomplished would have been satisfying enough, but doing it in the company of friends and supporters made it truly heart-warming and inspiring.
UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer rose to say how much she enjoys the frequent PSAs she hears on KSKA, informing parents of simple things they can do to help their babies. Steve Lindbeck, President and General Manager of APTI, appreciated that, remarking that this is the largest community partnership KSKA and KAKM have, that they’re truly raising public awareness. His audiences love them.
They’re so pleased with the guides in multiple languages and how Imagination Library truly captures local character in its statewide growth. Best Beginnings has consistently exceeded their expectations for what could be accomplished.
Bill Millett, here from North Carolina to make several presentations on Best Beginnings’ behalf, commented on the sheer level of energy he was witnessing. The first “Big Boy” book his father gave him was Charles Brower’s Fifty Years Below Zero, launching him on a lifetime of reading … and an interest in Alaska.
Alaska, dramatically illustrating the reach to even the tiniest villages. Cathy Rasmuson, noticing mention of the Friends of Tuzzy Library and the North Slope Imagination Library, immediately checked whether she could contribute through Pick.Click.Give.
But to the delight of everyone, the finale of the afternoon was our new video PSA made by Sprocketheads and featuring Martin Buser: “It all starts in the puppy pen!” Watch it here.
We have much work ahead of us and this is no time to rest. But our successes to date – and the warm wishes, generous donations, and enthusiastic support of our friends – are like a shot of adrenalin. They fire us up. We hope that you are re-inspired, as well.
Photos from top to bottom: Top photo – Tom Barrett, Sheila Barrett, Jim Posey; Second photo – Michele Brown, Judith Crotty, Krista Phillips; Third photo – Sharon Gagnon, Diane Kaplan; Bottom photo – Leslie Ellis, Panu Lucier, Barbara Lavallee.