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thread is celebrating twenty-five years providing quality early education and child care referral information to families throughout Alaska. Our anniversary theme: Growing through Generations represents both our connection to our history as an organization and the recognition of the importance early education has to our future generations. The Growing through Generations theme is also embedded throughout twenty-five events highlighting thread's silver anniversary and running until January 15, 2011 which will mark an anniversary culmination party!

"In our 25th anniversary year, we will reach new generations of families and early educators and continue to grow resources for quality early care and education in Alaska. We will celebrate our founders, supporters and partners who have been part of our rich history, growth and success. As we honor the past, we will also look forward to celebrating with future generations," says Stephanie Berglund, thread CEO.

Twenty-five years ago, a group of community leaders in Anchorage responded to the need for quality early care and education for their employees.  With support from then ARCO Alaska president Harold Heinze and the Mayor of Anchorage at that time, Tony Knowles, along with the United Way of Anchorage, and the Anchorage School District, Child Care Connection was created with the goal to help parents in Anchorage find child care.

The demand for quality child care services continued to grow and arguably is even more important for today's working families. As Child Care Connection expanded in Anchorage in both funding and staffing, a natural partnership was formed among three of the state's Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) organizations including Child Care Connection serving families in the southcentral region; the Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC-SEA) serving the southeast region; and CARES/Play'N'Learn serving the Interior/Northern region.

Today, these CCR&Rs form a one-year old statewide network that was re-branded with the name thread: signifying the "common thread" that ties together our effort to support families, early educators and communities throughout Alaska.

thread is excited to share with families, early educators, partners and other community leaders the twenty-five anniversary event calendar, a complete list of upcoming events planned as part of the celebration of thread's silver anniversary.

For more information or if you have questions about upcoming anniversary events, please contact

thread has produced its first ever television commercial, which will begin airing on NBC stations(KTUU) in Anchorage and Channel 11 (KTVF) in Fairbanks starting the week of July 19. The commercial will be re-broadcast on stations throughout the state.

"This is thread's first television commercial in Alaska and we are excited to be able to reach out in such a big way," says Stephanie Berglund, thread CEO. "We are always looking for new and better ways to connect with families, early educators, and other community residents and a commercial is a great way to make our message heard."

thread promotes quality early care and education across Alaska. With regional offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau, thread provides child care referrals and information to families, training and technical assistance to early educators, and works with communities to improve childhood systems statewide.

"We strive to generate the resources and infrastructure necessary to increase the availability, quality and affordability of early care and education options in Alaska," says Berglund.

Whether child care providers are receiving a professional development degree or providing good customer service to families – quality early care matters. thread is proud recognize five early educators who recently received their Child Development Association (CDA) credentials:

  • Martha Rocha
  • Adriana Diaz Cid
  • Elia Cedeño
  • Lourdes Biggs
  • Roxana Martin

These five professionals are just a sampling of the hundreds of early care providers taking care and teaching Alaska kids of all ages -- whether they are in a preschool program or in our homes or a community facility.

thread would love to hear your stories about your child care provider, your classroom, and your own experiences.  Willow Peyton of Anchorage recently shared her story with thread.

“It was a warm summer day and after leaving Hillcrest and buckling my 9 month baby into his car seat and closing the car door, the doors suddenly lock on my car with the keys and cell phone inside. Even though the center was closed, Miss Renae was there to help me call for assistance. She stayed with me and helped me to stay calm, waiting for help to arrive. I’ll never forget her kindness that day and every day my family and I have had the pleasure of being in her company.

I first met Miss Renae when she welcomed and walked me through Hillcrest as I was seeking childcare for my new baby. I have read a lot of parenting books and magazines but for me there was nothing like observing and talking with an experienced and passionate early childhood professional like Miss Renae to help me learn the best ways for my child to succeed in all the things important for a young child.

I am so thankful for the impression she is making on my kids. She always takes the time to talk with me about my child, the good & bad, the highs & lows, and the challenges & the celebrations. I just can’t say enough about her warmth and genuine care and concern for all of Hillcrest children and families.”

We'd love to hear your story! Please email Sarah Leonard and in the message field type "story."

Posted in thread News.    

Earlier this month, child care and early education advocates learned of Governor Parnell's veto of increased coverage for children and pregnant women under Denali Kid Care legislation. After a flurry of media activity, including a press conference held by a group of democratic senators, a poll of the 20 state senators failed to show support for a special session to be called to override the Governor's decision (reports the Anchorage Daily News 6/11/10).

thread has long been involved in promoting early care for Alaska families and supports the full 200 percent increase in eligibility for Denali Kid Care, allowing 1,300 kids and 200 pregnant women health care coverage.

"As a parent and working mother in the field of early education, I am very disappointed about Governor Parnell’s recent veto of increased coverage for Alaskan children through Denali Kid Care," wrote Stephanie Berglund, thread's CEO in a letter to the editor. "The bulk of the health coverage provided by Denali Kid Care includes doctor’s visits, health check-ups, hearing tests, dental check-ups, lab tests and speech and physical therapy."

For more information about early care and education issues, please visit thread's Parent Action Center.

Senator Mark Begich joined thread board members and staff at The Children's Place in the Gambell Job Center in Anchorage this week to talk about the importance of early care and education in Alaska.

The Children's Place is managed by thread’s southcentral office for the purpose of providing child care services to Alaska Temporary Assistance Program recipients, applicants and others using the services of the Gambell Job Center. It is a model program and the only one of its kind in the state that offers child care services at a local job center. Job seekers at the Gambell Job Center have a safe place for their children to be while researching and using employment resources at the center. Visitors to the Gambell Job Center are also provided child care referral information.

The Children's Place is a partnership between thread and workforce development at the Alaska State Department of Labor.

Posted in thread News.    

Stephanie Berglund has been named the new chief executive officer of Alaska's child care resource and referral agency, thread. Berglund brings to the leadership position a strong social service background as well as a wealth of experience at thread as their former cheief operating officer and program manager.

thread is Alaska’s only statewide child care resource and referral network, partnering with offices in Juneau and Fairbanks.  thread provides families, free of charge, with individualized early care and education referrals. thread also offers training to early childhood educators and information and resources to the community.

“Stephanie offers an established understanding of both program operations statewide and services to Alaskan communities. We expect she will take the organization to a new level of quality in service to our clients, both early care and education professionals, and families of young children,” said Bonny Headley, chair of thread’s board of directors and Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Berglund begins her new role as CEO of thread as it celebrates 25 years serving Alaska’s families and promoting quality child care.

“I couldn’t be more excited to continue working with families and educators throughout Alaska,” said Berglund. “I care deeply about early care and education and am committed to continually improving access and affordability of child care options in our state.

Other thread staff announcements:

Melinda Myers, formerly with Best Beginnings: Alaska’s Early Childhood Investment has been hired as thread’s Program Manager and COO. Melinda has worked in social services for over 12 years, with her last four years as Senior Manager of Best Beginnings.

Sarah Leonard, formerly with The Nature Conservancy in Alaska has been hired as thread’s Director of Marketing & Fund Development. She has worked in Alaska’s nonprofit community for over ten years.

For more information about thread services statewide visit

Posted in thread News.    

May 7th celebrated National Provider Appreciation Day and the professionals who give high quality care and education to Alaska kids of all ages -- whether in a preschool program or in our homes or a community facility.

We'd love to hear your own provider experiences and invite you to share with us your favorite story about child care, learning or your local provider. thread will highlight our favorite stories on the website and share them with others. Please email your story to and in the subject line type "My Story."

Candace Winkler, CEO of thread, was interviewed by David Weatherholt, host of KUDO 1080's "Getting Down to Business" on Friday, February 12, 2010. Click here to listen to the radio show.

Dirt Diggers Project for Early Educators in Fairbanks.  An exciting opportunity to promote healthy activity and increase natural elements in early childhood settings for young children. The coalition is interested in improving activity in young children in an effort to help prevent obesity for the rest of their lives. A recent report “Childhood Obesity in Alaska” noted 32% of children entering Kindergarten or First Grade in the Anchorage School District were already above normal weight. The report also showed 40% of 2-4 year olds enrolled in our State’s WIC programs are above normal weight.  [Read More... ]

Posted in thread News.    

To highlight the Child Care Resource and Referral network and better connect with communities across Alaska, we have taken a fresh look at our name and a new approach to the way we present ourselves – one that creatively depicts our promise to the communities we serve.

The name thread was chosen to signify "the common thread" that ties together Alaska’s network of Child Care Resource and Referral organizations – which supports families, early educators and communities around the state.

thread CEO, Candace Winkler, comments, "thread is a very strong brand. It ties our statewide network together and conveys a sense of the work we do to connect parents, early care and education programs, and communities together to guide Alaska's children to success. thread really works. It is simple enough to resonate with grandmothers caring for their grandchildren and bold enough to work with professional early educators across the state. We love it and look forward to everyone exploring the information in our new website."

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