MIDDLETOWN – Teacher assistants from Regional Economic Community Action Program’s Head Start program were honored by the Child Care Council of Orange County for their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and work with preschool children.

Dorothy Martin, Maricela Lopez, Lilly Negron, Ronda Fuller, Patricia Vankleeck and Tonette Hall were among 13 providers honored by the Council at its annual membership dinner on Dec. 7 at Colden Manor at Spruce Lodge in Montgomery.

The Child Development Associate credential is recognized as a key stepping stone on the path to career advancement in early childhood education.

The event featured guest speaker Jeanine Fitzgerald, certified human behavior consultant and owner of the Fitzgerald Institute of Lifelong Learning. Her address, “Influencing in Authentic Ways,” stressed that the most effective professionals are not heroes, but hero makers.

Head Start programs support the comprehensive development of children in the learning centers and in their own homes. Development-focused services include early learning through instruction, health education including meals and dental support, and family well-being as parents are encouraged to achieve their own goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security. Programs support and strengthen parent-child relationships and engage families around children’s learning and development.

RECAP's services help people living in poverty in Orange County and the surrounding areas. RECAP works with the community's most vulnerable populations, including seniors, children, veterans, the homeless and the hungry, those living with HIV/AIDS, victims of domestic violence, people battling substance abuse, and anyone struggling to make ends meet.

For more information, visit recap.org.