Congratulations to the Award and Grant Recipients of 2021!

Thank you to everyone who applied for OCAEYC Grants and/or nominated people for Outstanding Professionals and Programs this year. The awards and grants committee are honored to recognize the following awardees for 2021. Descriptions of this year's awards and grants follows.

Mayra Alejandra Gradilla

Play Grant

Jillian Ashcraft

Education Grant

Aiszellyn Christine-Kaylyne Alvarez

Advocacy Grant

Cinda Muckenthaler

Outstanding Professional

Raissa Lee

Outstanding Professional

Wilhelmina Burghard

Outstanding Professional

Clever Endeavors Early Care and Education, Inc. Chapman Campus

Outstanding Program

Remarks about the Award Recipients

"With more than 25 years of experience in the field of early childhood education, Cinda's vision is to ensure that the early learning community has the resources that they need to provide and sustain quality services for children, families, and communities. Cinda has repeatedly shown her dedication to the early learning communities' needs and strengths, helping them focus on increasing the capacity in the county for early learning programming. She has been instrumental in expanding Orange County's child care providers' knowledge on fiscal leveraging opportunities, develop protocols and training focused on aligning existing resources to current needs and identifying resource gaps for child development educators, leaders, and staff. She is the true back bone of the child development field in Orange County with a heart of gold."

Mrs. Raissa Lee is a dedicated educator that provides a safe, enriched learning environment for young children and their families attending her Mandarin Immersion and STEM home-based child care program. She firmly believes that families play an integral role in a child's life and success. Many of the families are first generation and unfamiliar with the U.S. education system. They rely on her to not only provide an education for their child but also look to her for support in navigating the education system."

"Willie goes above and beyond to bring the best experience to her students in-person or virtuality. When the school closures occurred she made sure her students still experience the Wille effect. She creates you tube videos to bring her lessons to life. During her zoom lesson she is always dancing, singing and making experiences for her students. Willie makes sure every student feels loved, welcomed and most importantly that they have fun."

"This team maintained a positive, convivial, gracious, can-do attitude and provided an exemplary learning experience for our children and families during an increasingly challenging year. They provided a sense of security for the children in an insecure world. They provided a source of comfort and continuity for parents as they themselves faced challenges in their own personal and professional worlds."

OCAEYC 2021 Awards & Grants

These are descriptions of the awards and grants that were available this year.

Play Matters

This grant is for an ECE professional who supports play-based learning in the classroom or at their center. Awardee will specify how they support play and how they use play as a base for learning. The $300 is to be used for classroom enhancement or further training on the importance of play.

Advocacy Matters

This grant is for an ECE professional who supports advocacy in the field. Awardee will specify how they advocate for the profession and how they plan to continue to support advocacy. The $300 is to be used for continued professional development geared towards advocacy.

Education Matters

This grant is for an ECE professional who is enrolled in a college degree course (AA/AS or BA/BS) in the field of Early Childhood. The $300 is to be used for college expenses,tuition, or books. Proof of enrollment in higher education required.

Four Awards Available

Outstanding ECE professional or program. – The Outstanding early childhood education professional or program* is an individual or entity nominated by their peer(s) that strives to support the core values of the Orange County Association for the Education of Young Children(OCAEYC). These individuals/programs go above and beyond what is normally required of themselves and their work to ensure that all children, families, and communities have equitable access to developmentally appropriate high quality early learning. These individuals/programs align with one or more of the OCAYEC core values; 1) support professionals working with children birth-eight, 2)advocate high standards of and improve working conditions in programs for young children, 3) promote public understanding of issues effecting children and families, 4) keep informed of and collaborate with other groups concerned with the welfare and education of young children,and 5) strive to build a strong diverse and inclusive organization.
*Administrators/Director (outstanding program) and Nominees(outstanding professionals) must be current member to qualify