Kelley Hackett, of Waterbury Center, is the owner of Kelley’s DayBreak Childcare, a home-based child care program. In addition to being a business owner, parent and child care provider, Kelley has volunteered in her community for many years and is admired for having built a strong community centered around early childhood. As the leader of the Washington West Starting Points Network, Kelley leads a group of local early childhood professionals who take initiative through leadership, professional development and peer support to encourage, learn and grow together. She previously served as Co-President of The Children’s Room, a non-profit providing free services to families with young children in Central Vermont and previously mentored fellow child care providers through her work with Vermont Birth to Five. Kelley says, “I love the strong community network and bond with the families I serve. They become an extended piece of my own family.”
Tammara Laraway, of Morrisville, the owner and director of TT’s Tots, has made a positive impact on her community by collaborating with other early childhood service providers to provide quality care for the children she serves. She enjoys working with families to identify individual goals for their children's development and then weaving those varied goals into activities that are age-appropriate for her diverse crew of children who range in age from 10 months to 9 years old. Tammara loves to watch the joy in the children's faces when they learn new things and realize they can do something independently that they had been working hard on. Tammara says, ““My hope is for all children to have high-quality opportunities to grow and develop—to play and be curious for as long as possible!”
Dayna Mazzola, of Bennington, is a special education preschool teacher who’s spent the last 19 years going above and beyond the school day to build lasting relationships with the children and families she serves. She uses her training, expertise and collaboration with team members to help children develop to their fullest potential. One parent described the positive impact Dayna had on her adopted daughter who had been neglected as an infant and suffered from attachment issues as a result. Thanks to Dayna’s dedication and compassion, this parent says her daughter began “to learn that she could trust adults and have healthy relationships with them.” Dayna says her primary focus is to create a caring and respectful environment. “Building trusting relationships is the foundation of my work,” she said.
Ikey Spear, of Burlington, has spent almost 20 years improving the lives of children in her community through her work as the Children's Service Coordinator at Steps to End Domestic Violence (formerly Women Helping Battered Women). The children's programs at Steps to End Domestic Violence provide a place for children who have been affected by domestic violence to access one-on-one support and therapeutic playgroups. Ikey also works with parents, some of whom also face homelessness, to support them in addressing the impact of domestic violence on their children. Ikey is known for her warmth and generosity. Hundreds of kids receive gifts on Christmas because of her holiday giving program and the generosity of those in the community who contribute year after year. Frequently, children she’s helped come back to the program years later to say thank you for the difference she made in their lives. Ikey says, “Kids are incredibly creative, resourceful, and resilient. At the shelter, it makes me proud to see children learn and grow in new ways when in a safe environment.”