Welcome to the month of LOVE. One thing I love about this month is that it’s also sports the Early Childhood Legislative Day at the Capitol which was this Wednesday, February 6th. We took our preschoolers from GL2 and GL4 to participate in BLOCK Fest and to demonstrate how powerful a quality early education is. This day is dedicated to young children and their importance in our state and our world. Idaho is still one of only five states in the union without any state funding for early childhood.

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Children are important. When we, at Giraffe Laugh, say, “We can see the future from here.” we truly mean it. Children are our future and they will be carrying us into a future someday that is unimaginable right now. I want the best for them and I know you do as well.

Please take some time to let our state leaders know how you feel about our kids and their future. The Capitol is yours and the Legislators want to hear from YOU. They work for you, and it’s never too late to get involved.  Check here for information on upcoming bills in Idaho: https://legislature.idaho.gov/

If you aren’t sure how you feel about a certain subject, learn about it. There are so many resources out there however be sure you fact check what you read. Facebook is not always the best source for accurate information. Reputable sources include:

Center on the Developing Child: http://developingchild.harvard.edu/ with a really cool video on brain development.

Idaho Kids Count: http://idahokidscount.org/ for statistical data that is local.

National Association for the Education of Young Children: https://www.naeyc.org

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children:  http://idahoaeyc.org/ a great local resource for parents and teachers.

United Way of Treasure Valley: https://www.unitedwaytv.org/ They have great information on A.L.I.C.E.

Have a happy, wonderful, love filled month and if you dive into issues and learn something new, please share it with us. We want to hear what you think and what you’ve learned. Thank you for your part in helping us raise healthy, happy, loved children that we are sending into the future.

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Starting New in the New Year

The promise of a new year is upon us and with it comes the knowledge that we all love new beginnings. It could be the new beginning of finding out one is pregnant. It could be the new beginning of a newborn and the gifts they bring to the world. It could be the new beginning of a job or school that will earn us what we crave most, stability, independence or both.

Whatever your new beginnings are this month, we wish you the very best and want you to know how wonderful it feels to be a part of your journey in the coming year. We are grateful that you trusted us with your children, your family, your resources and your time this past year and we hope we honored your gifts with our work.

We are incredibly grateful for all of the gifts, surprises, and people that entered our lives in 2018 and look forward with that universal excitement to the new beginning of 2019 and our time with all of you.

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you from the board and staff at Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Centers where we ensure school readiness, empower families and build strong futures.

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Being Present is the Best Present

The holidays are upon us whether we are ready or not! I hope that all of you find the joy you seek most during these, sometimes, stressful times for family. It can be difficult to spend too much time with relatives, but also a blessing in so many ways. I hope your balance is just right!

Our tradition is to play games and watch movies together. These have been long standing activities for young and old. Finding common games and movies with kids 11 years apart was often a challenge, but also reminded us of childhood when we watched an old favorite that was appropriate for everyone. This family time is one of my favorite, and my children’s favorite memories.

When I ask them to recall what they got for Christmas, or what Santa brought when they were children, they rarely remember any specific gifts. They reflect more on the time spent with grandparents, cousins, each other and friends. They recall gathering together to celebrate in so many wonderful ways and sharing special holiday dishes that only appear that time of year. They recall being surprised by something they were sure they would never get, but often don’t remember what that item was.

Whatever your traditions are, remember it’s more about the feeling everyone has during the holiday, than about the gifts. A friend of mine once told me that her present that year to everyone was her presence. When she heard from a friend, she’d really listen. She sent cards, she sat with sick people, she reached out when others were hurting, she was present when people needed her.

As the year wraps up, I want to be her. I want to be more present. I hope to spend less time on my phone (Yes, the iPhone is tracking my time and it’s too much) and I want to really look in the eyes of my loved ones and truly be present when they want my attention. Undivided attention is what we all want and deserve.

Happy holidays to you all.

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Fall is Finally Here

We are all so fortunate to live in a place that has a true autumn feel and nothing feels more like fall than the month of October. Some of you may be clinging to your flip-flops, while some of you had pulled out the fall clothes the day school started. Still, the rhythm of back-to-school helps us move forward one way or another.

Many of our children have moved up to new classrooms with new teachers and new fellow students. Some of our kids moved on to their first day of kindergarten and we will miss them! Some of them just started, carried in by their moms or dads in their carriers. It’s a fresh beginning for all and we are grateful to our parents for trusting us with these important milestones.

We have so many wonderful events to look back on this summer such as the Annual Luau (one of the hottest days of the year) and Hyde Park Street Fair (one of our biggest fundraisers and volunteer events). We were so fortunate to have so many parents attend both events to support our programs but also to connect and enjoy time with others, so thank you!

Another way for parents to connect is our Parent Café’s held at one of each of the three year-round centers. We have our last Parent Cafe of the year coming up in October at Giraffe Laugh 4, join us there if you’re able. Free childcare, free food, free conversations, and free fun are all included. Who doesn’t want that? Past parents and parents whose children have never attended GL are welcome as well.

In the coming months, we will have the pumpkin patch to visit, the Halloween Parades at the centers and then begins the holiday baskets and Christmas adoption programs. If you need some help, please reach out to your site director, and if you’d like to help, please reach out to our main office to sign up. Katt@giraffelaugh.org will send you the sign-up sheet.

Most importantly our Futures Begin Here Luncheon is coming up on November 7th from 12-1 pm at the Riverside Hotel. Please RSVP to cassandra@giraffelaugh.org if you’d like to attend. This is a free fundraising event that highlights our work! Please, join us if you’re able.

One way or another I hope I see some of you in what’s remaining of this year. I’d love to update you on the exciting news we have coming up. Join me to hear more at an upcoming Lattes with Lori at the main office on Tuesday, October 9th from 9-10 a.m. Please RSVP to our RSVP queen, Cassandra Wagner

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Vision 20/20

Strategic planning, evaluating, training and brainstorming describes the amazing things that happened at our board retreat this month. Our dedicated board members spent a Saturday together to plan for the future of our organization to better serve our children and families. Retiring members along with brand new were able to catch the excitement of this work of ensuring school readiness and empowering families. It was incredibly productive and humbling.

We have some wonderful new plans for this coming year that we look forward to sharing with you in the near future. With the theme of providing educational justice to low income children and their families in mind, which is always at the center of our work, we know our work isn’t done.

Having all of you coming alongside us to help make the work happen is incredible and so appreciated. We hope you are able to join us at an upcoming Latte’s, Lunch or Libations with Lori to learn more about what’s happening behind the scenes. We also have many fun events coming up that are a great way to meet other supporters and to help the cause in other ways.

If you haven’t attended a Little Shoes Big Dreams tour, please join us soon. They are twice a month and only one hour. We do not ask anyone for anything, it is simply a tour of our mission.

Please contact Simone Olive to attend any of these events and I hope to see your shining faces soon! simone@girafelaugh.org 208-954-5456.

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Giraffe Laugh Announces Three New Board Members

4094 West Chinden Blvd Suite 100
Garden City, ID 83714


For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Tina Leoncavallo
Marketing & Volunteer Coordinator
Giraffe Laugh
208-954-5457  ●  tina@giraffelaugh.org

Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Center Announces Three New Board Members

Boise, ID (January 8, 2018) – Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Center announces the appointment of three new members for a three-year term to its Board of Directors. Joining the Board of Directors are Emily Solly, Maria Thomas and Julie Waters. “All three of our newest Board Members embody the spirit of the community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue to ensure school readiness, build strong futures and empower families in the Treasure Valley,” says Lori Fascilla, Giraffe Laugh’s Executive Director.

Emily Solly is a Commercial Lender of Mountain West Bank and has been with the company since 2005. She holds a Credit Risk Certification and is a graduate of Boise State University. With strong roots in the Boise community, Emily looks forward to identifying and forging new partnerships for Giraffe Laugh. She also volunteers for United Way, Girl Scouts of Silver Sage and Festival of Trees.

Since 2015 Maria Thomas is Senior Tax Accountant of Deloitte Tax LLP and represents them at the Association of Latino Professionals for America. Graduated from Boise State University with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting, Maria brings her 10 years expertise in compliance and finance to Giraffe Laugh. She also volunteers for United Way.

Julie Waters is employed by RecorGroup LLC, a premier consulting agency in the grocery brokerage industry, and owns Waters n’ Daughters Plumbing LLC with her husband. As a busy mom, Julie empathizes with many Giraffe Laugh parents who are striving for great childcare while bettering themselves. Julie looks forward to exploring new opportunities and using her experiences in event planning and social media for Giraffe Laugh.

About Giraffe Laugh: We are a local, non profit providing early education and nurturing to over 200 children in the Treasure Valley daily. We ensure school readiness, build strong futures and empower families.

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New Year And Another Chance To Get It Right

This time last year we were buried in over a foot of snow in Boise and struggling with whether or not to stay open due to weather conditions. It’s downright balmy right now, and the clear skies are hopefully a harbinger of good things to come for our kids and families in 2018.

In 2018 we look forward to graduating a new crop of kids who are ready and prepared for kindergarten. This means they will be more likely to be on a reading level by 3rd grade, making it more likely they will graduate from high school, go on to further education, own a home, have a steady job and healthy family. It all begins in those first five years, and we are always excited to be a part of this work.

We recently played the Brain Development Game with our staff, and it was incredible to have a visual of how impactful the first five years are on a child’s brain growth and future outcomes. I could talk for days about it but suffice it to say that our work is changing and uplifting lives that might otherwise be overlooked due to circumstances outside of their control.

Idaho is currently only sending half of our kids ready when they enter Kindergarten, and a recent study by the Idaho Business for Education says that Kindergarten reading levels are at an 11 year low.

We can and we must do better at promoting opportunities for our youth who will be the caretakers of our great state and who will lead us into the future. We can see the future from here! That future looks brighter and more successful when everyone has access to quality early learning programs.

– Lori Fascilla

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The Spirit of Christmas Is Alive

December brings so much excitement for our little folks but often involves stress for the adults in their lives. At Giraffe Laugh we are fortunate to have so many incredible donors who “adopt” families for Christmas who cannot provide for their children in a traditional way during the holidays. Sometimes it’s a meal they need and sometimes it’s gifts to put under the tree or in a stocking. Whatever it is, the generosity of those who give makes Christmas morning magical for adults and children alike. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in our community and that is something to celebrate.

In November we celebrated our fourth annual Futures Begin Here Luncheon, and we were blown away by the generosity of our friends and family of Giraffe Laugh. Our Dream Big Society grew by leaps and bounds which means our dreams do as well. Thank you to all who attended and joined our work of ensuring school readiness, empowering families and building strong futures.

I hope your holidays are blessed and peaceful and filled with all the joy your heart can hold. Thank you for fulfilling big dreams right here in our valley on Christmas morning and beyond.

We look forward to an exciting 2018! Follow us on social media to keep up with all of the excitement.

-Lori Fascilla, Executive Director

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From Lori’s Laptop – September 2017

September is reminiscent of school shopping, apples, fresh corn, crisper air and earlier night time. As we begin to settle in for fall weather, the heat of summertime still clings and reminds us of the lovely, lazy days behind us. This transition is beautiful in Boise as we have four distinct seasons, and moving from one to the next is both bittersweet and a reminder that time flies for us all.
Our kids are all moving from one classroom to another, and their season of new adventures begins. With it comes some tears and adjustment, and that’s just the parents. Our kids are excited and thrilled to move with their friends to the next level and treasured teachers both new and old. During this time of change it’s important for us to stay in touch and recognize ways we can empower our families.
In October we will be holding our second Parent Café that is designed around the Protective Factors from the Strengthening Families model. The theme is “You are not alone.” Parenting is hard so knowing we are not alone and where to find resources and support is important. Building relationships with other parents is crucial to success and empowerment.
We embrace the upcoming season and hope you are finding joy and comfort in the steady march of time and the promise of a new start. If you’re a parent, join us! Our Parent Café is for everyone. Details are as follows:
Thursday, October 26 Time TBA
Marion Pritchett School – 1617 N. 24th St., Boise, ID 83702

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