Alaska: wild, remote, beautiful. It takes a hardy kind of person to thrive in the northern latitudes, but hardy doesn’t have to mean solo. Each year, the Alaska Women’s Summit invites business and government leaders to a conference focused on the needs of Alaskan women – their issues, challenges, and the resources available to them. This year, Elanna Yalow joined the summit to talk about the importance of quality, affordable child care.
The summit started four years ago after Alaska Senator Lesil McGuire read a report that called her state one of the most challenging places in the country for women.
“I quickly determined that women are Alaska’s most undeveloped resource and I must make every effort to change those statistics because I know Alaskan women are strong, resilient, hardworking, and above all, innovative,” she said.
Senator McGuire met one of our KinderCare Education Center Directors, Angie Lantz, earlier this year. The two started a conversation about early childhood education and when Elanna came to Anchorage in August visit to local centers, she and other KCE leaders joined Senator McGuire and Angie in thinking of ways in which KCE could bring quality early childhood education to Alaska’s youngest learners. Senator McGuire invited Elanna to return in October to speak to Summit attendees about the benefits of ECE – both for students and for their community.
“Dr. Yalow’s decades of experience serving the mission of early childhood development added eye-opening depth to our fourth annual Alaska Women’s Summit,” said Senator McGuire. “KinderCare has been a driving force in closing the childcare gap in our state, but we have miles to go and Dr. Yalow reminded the more than 250 women gathered [at the summit] why it was so important that we stay the course.”
Elanna’s talk was so well-received she was invited to return to the 2017 summit – which will focus on early childhood education. In the meantime, she and other KCE leaders will continue to talk with Alaskan officials about how KCE can become more involved in the early childhood education community in Alaska and how KCE can help ensure more Alaskan children have access to high-quality learning opportunities.