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Becoming an effective champion for children requires support and preparation. It’s important to understand the issue at hand, know the best way to communicate effectively about the issue and feel confident in your ability to do so.

Let's Grow Kids is excited to share our new training workshops with you—they’re designed for everyone who wants to make a difference: parents, child care professionals, educators, business people and community members.

All of our trainings are Northern Lights Approved professional development workshops, and Let’s Grow Kids is a Bright Futures Information System (BFIS) sponsor with skilled Northern Lights instructors on staff.

Training workshops are engaging, educational and—most importantly—fun! Expect group discussions and brainstorms and also to engage with the material in meaningful and personal ways. No matter which training you attend, we hope you leave with the confidence and knowledge that you can make a difference in the lives of Vermont’s youngest children.

We are more than happy to offer you free professional development hours, if applicable, and are excited to share the campaign’s important messages with you!

WHAT: The Empowerment Project is a FREE six week training series designed to help Vermont early childhood advocates become agents of positive change for Vermont children. This innovative and intensive 6-part training series explores our relationship to change and infuses the field with revolutionary approaches to overcoming some of early childhood’s biggest challenges. Guided by the work of top leaders in the field of educational change, inspired by the documentary series Raising of America, and shaped by the collective wisdom of the participants involved, we will generate a shared vision of a desired future for early childhood and use a strategic process to design creative solutions to the major issues in early childhood education that impact our everyday lives. Opportunities for large group work, small group work and a mix of hands-on-move-around activities will lead to the collective building of viable strategies for advocacy and concrete plans for next steps.
  • Learning Objectives:
    •  Participants will work together to define the broader social and political forces shaping the early childhood fields

    • Participants will explore their relationship to change and reflect on their commitment to actively engage in the change process

    • Participants will examine the assumptions and attitudes that divide and create a shared vision for the future for early childhood

    • Participants will use collective creativity and design thinking principles to generate workforce-driven solutions to overcoming the field’s most challenging issues 

The Empowerment Project Training Series are led by Ellen Drolette and Lisa M. Guerrero, M.Ed
  • Ellen lives in Burlington, Vermont with her husband Todd. She has run her family child care program in Burlington for close to 25 years where their two children, Dylana and Zachary grew up. Ellen has served on the board of the National Association for Family Child Care, is a Global Leader with the World Forum Foundation and was named a Master Leader In 2016 by Exchange Magazine. Ellen writes monthly articles for two local newspapers in Vermont and has written articles for Exchange Magazine. In addition to running her family child care program; Ellen trains and mentors new Americans who are opening family child care programs.


  • Lisa has been dedicated to the field of early care and education for nearly twenty-five years. Over the course of that time, she’s played several roles in a variety of program settings including home-based child care provider, toddler and preschool teacher in a licensed center, program director in a private school, enrichment specialist, curriculum and professional development consultant for Head Start Programs, and a family resource coach for home-based family childcare providers. In addition to her work with programs, Lisa has a passion for systems-level thinking and an interest in overcoming the field’s issues. Some of her most recent work at the policy-level has been as the program director of VTAEYC’s T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood project and as an active member on state committees including the Pre-K Capacity workgroup, and the Higher Education workgroup. Lisa believes strongly in having a comprehensive understanding of her work, especially during this time of the field’s development. Currently, she is focused on the retention and professional development of the early childhood workforce which includes teaching at the Community College of Vermont and conference keynote and workshop presenting. Lisa absolutely loves and is inspired by her work with professionals both entering the field and those with many years of experience. In getting to know the people doing the hard work of care and education, she is filled with hope and excitement for the future of our field and for the future of the children and families in our communities!  When she is not working, Lisa is likely found with her nose in a book studying toward a PhD in Education Leadership, Policy, and Change or with her head in the clouds on a hike with her trusty Bernese Mountain Dog, Ruby.
WHY: Because our children are our future! 
If you are interested in taking the Empowerment training, please let us know!

This is an interactive training focused on the latest research in early childhood brain development. Participants will leave with the knowledge to explain why high-quality early experiences during the first few years are so important for lifelong success.

This training is right for you if: You're interested in learning more about the importance of the early years!

Participants will learn how to:

  • Infer connections between the science of healthy early childhood brain development and the environment

  • Work together to build brain models using the Brain Architecture Game

  • Understand the importance that high-quality, affordable child care plays in healthy brain development 

If you are interested in taking the Brain Science of the Early Years training, please let us know!

This training module will provide participants with an in-depth look at how the campaign is organized and how they can participate as an ambassador for Vermont’s children. Participants will have the opportunity to make connections with campaign staff and other like-minded Vermonters, leaving with the knowledge and skill to feel confident in making a difference as an ambassador for the Let’s Grow Kids campaign.

This training is right for you if: You're currently an LGK Ambassador who has already participated in the “How to Become a Changemaker” training or are already very familiar with the campaign and the Petition.

By the end of the session participants will have:

  • Gained an understanding of what Let’s Grow Kids is and the campaign’s approach to change
  • Rephrased core campaign messages into their own language and practiced engaging others on the issue of high-quality, affordable child care
  • Created a personal action plan by identifying their next steps within the campaign and the sources and supports they need to be successful

If you are interested in taking the How to Create Change in Your Community training, please let us know!

This training provides an overview of policy advocacy, the power of our collective action and how you can make a difference. Participants will join a statewide network of highly skilled, confident and motivated advocates who will mobilize together to make policy change to ensure that every Vermont child has access to high-quality, affordable child care.

This training is right for you if: You're a civic-minded Vermonter.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Understand the basics of policy advocacy and identify opportunities for greatest impact
  • Articulate an understanding of why advocacy is essential to achieving high-quality, affordable child care             
  • Explain what the Blue Ribbon Commission is and how we can contribute to the Commission’s work
  • Develop an individual advocacy plan to advocate for policies that create positive change for Vermont’s youngest children

If you are interested in taking the How to Create Change Through Advocacy training, please let us know!

You can change the world with your story! In this training, participants will learn the basic structure of a persuasive public narrative that links their personal stories to campaign messaging in order to create positive change for Vermont’s children.

This training is right for you if: You're interested in sharing your story about the importance of early childhood with legislators or community members. 

Participants will learn:

  • About the components of a persuasive personal narrative and the impact of storytelling as a tool for change
  • How to convey relevant Vermont-related early childhood messaging to others
  • How to link their personal story to early childhood messaging

If you are interested in taking the How to Create Change Through Stories training, please let us know!