CDA’s Down Home Derby 2014

CDA's Down Home Derby 2014

Gail Albert, CDA Down Home Derby Chair with CDA Executive Director, Donna Smythe and Linda Stouffer of WSB-TV.

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Mayor Jere Wood 65th Birthday Bash to Benefit the Child Development Association

Mayor Jere Wood 65th Birthday Bash to Benefit the Child Development Association

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Howdy Partners

Howdy Partners

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Welcome Roxane Leopold



We would like to give a warm welcome to our new Education Director, Roxane Leopold! Roxane has brought with her 40 years of experience as an educator with training in Elementary Education and Special Education. Her work has taken her to many places including Boston, Burlington, Vermont and even Rome, Italy! While in Rome, Roxane had the amazing opportunity as a special educator with English speaking children and taught English to Italian women. Her work outside of traditional child development settings includes work for not-for-profit management, government initiatives and higher education.

She has spent the last thirty years in Burlington, Vermont, where she worked as the Executive Director of the King Street Center for more than two decades, helping hundreds of children and families to achieve academic, social and personal development goals. In 2007, she retired from her role at King Street, but her retirement was short lived as she soon picked back up again, this time working at Burlington College helping to educate and promote young professionals in the broader fields of education and human services.

Roxane resigned in December 2012 with hopes of moving to Georgia with her husband and to be closer to her children and grandchildren. Roxane is thrilled about her new role as Education Director at the CDA, because it allows her to be close to her family and continue to dedicate herself to what she considers to be her life’s work: helping young children and their families. And we couldn’t be happier to have her here!

Georgia seems to suit Roxane just fine, as she is enjoying the warm weather, the perks of the city, and of course the wonderful nurturing environment at the CDA. Although her work here is similar to her previous work in early childhood education, she has already found there to be new challenges and hopes in learning and working with the richly diverse staff and families here. The best part of her job is that the work she does every day at the CDA applies to what she does with her own grandchildren, so it never feels like work!

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CDA In The News!

Lately, there has been much excitement at the Child Development Association surrounding a visit from WSB-TV anchor, Linda Stouffer, on April 9th! After hearing the news that WSB-TV would be filming a news segment right here at the CDA, our children prepared to show off all of their arts and crafts handiwork for this momentous occasion. The segment was filmed on-site while Linda and her crew visited and filmed in classrooms, and interacted with parents, teachers and children. Our executive director, Donna Smythe, got a chance to speak on behalf of the wonderful work that our teachers do on a daily basis, and brought awareness to the critical importance of early childhood education! One of our wonderful parents, Akesha Patterson, also got to share her thoughts on the CDA’s program, and how it helps her as a single parent to know that her daughter is receiving a quality education while she is in our care. Thanks a million to Linda Stouffer and WSB-TV for providing the platform to let the CDA shine! We couldn’t have done it without their interest and support for our program. The segment aired on the Sunday morning People 2 People program, but you can still watch the video on WSB-TV’s website.

cda classroom

CDA Classroom

And we can’t forget to mention that Linda Stouffer has also agreed to emcee our annual Down Home Derby at the In Your Dreams Farm in Alpharetta on Saturday, May 4th! With live music, food, drinks, auctions, betting and horses, we bring the experience of the Kentucky Derby home to Georgia! And we are excited to announce the second annual Blue Ribbon Hat Parade, where participants can win prizes for sporting their creative chapeaus! We invite everyone to come out to have a great time, while benefiting a fantastic cause! All of the proceeds from this event will go directly towards raising tuition scholarships for children whose families could not afford it otherwise. These scholarships can make all the difference for a child’s future, and we are blessed to have such generous sponsors and donors for fundraising events like the Down Home Derby! Dinner will be provided by Five Seasons Brewery, and Grey Goose Vodka will sponsor the bars. Buy tickets online or watch a video from last year’s derby to see what all the fuss is about!

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Once Upon A Time… A week of fun with books!

Best Book Fair Ever at the CDA!

The week of March 18-22 was a whirlwind of excitement for the children at the Child Development Association! We hosted a week-long Scholastic Book Fair to celebrate the importance of reading. It was so wonderful to see parents and teachers united on a collaborative mission: the betterment of our children’s futures through the power of reading. All of the children visited the fair and completed a “wish list” of the books that interested them, with assistance from teachers, National Charity League and individual volunteers. The parents’ participation was OUTSTANDING! Even the CDA staff got caught up in the fun, buying books for their children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces. One of our volunteers bought some books to take with her to classes when she visits to read.CDA, child development association, scholastic book fair

The book fair was a huge success, to say the least, netting $1,593.26 in book sales and earning $1,000 in Scholastic credit for the CDA. With this credit, we will be able to put the books from teachers’ wish lists on their shelves in the classroom, as well as add more books to our resource libraries! Thanks to support from our wonderful staff and parents, we went up $100 in Scholastic credit from last year to this year. For more information on the Scholastic Book Fairs, visit

CDA Celebrates Georgia Reads Aloud Day

Tuesday, March 19th we joined the rest of the state in celebrating “Georgia Reads Aloud Day,” an annual event that recognizes the impact of reading on children’s lives. Early care and learning providers, parents, and the entire community are encouraged to reinforce the importance of reading by making a special effort to read to children of all ages on this day. This year, it is part of the month long initiative started by First Lady Sandra Deal called “Read Across Georgia,” which aims to increase the percentage of children reading at grade level by the completion of third grade.

CDA, child development association, Scholastic book fairThe CDA participated wholeheartedly with volunteers reading in every classroom. Not only teachers and parents were reading, but also volunteers from the community and staff from the CDA administration, including the Education Director and the Executive Director! Some of our readers brought in books of their own to show to the children and some read the children’s favorite books from the classroom.

For more information on the importance of reading aloud to your children, we recommend the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) Guide.

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What’s for lunch? A spotlight on our wonderful cook

Maria Paz has worked in the kitchen at the CDA for six years now, and loves every minute of her job. With a huge grin on her face, she describes her love for cooking, especially when it comes to providing healthy and delicious meals for children. Health standards are her main priority in the kitchen, and she can proudly boast scores ranging only from 99-100 from the Health Department during her time here. On any given day, Maria prepares breakfast, lunch, and a snack for all of the children at the CDA, as well as for any hungry teachers and staff.

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Maria Paz, CDA cook

While the thought of preparing a monthly calendar for three meals a day, five days a week might make some of our heads spin, it just comes naturally for Maria. She keeps herself on track by remembering to include eggs once a week for breakfast and to alternate beef, poultry, cheese, and fish for lunch every week.  For afternoon snack, Maria makes sure the children get a tasty treat that still incorporates nutrition, whether it is chocolate chip granola bars, or cucumbers with ranch. She does keep one thing constant throughout every month’s menu, which is Cheese Grits Wednesdays, much to the enjoyment of everyone at the CDA.  Every Wednesday, Maria arrives 15 minutes early to start boiling the water for her famous cheese grits so that breakfast is served on time! It is everyone’s favorite breakfast, across the board. Did we mention that Maria also coordinates the lunches for field trips and family events? She even takes the time to cut the crusts off of ALL of the sack lunch sandwiches. Now that’s dedication.

We were able to convince Maria to provide us with a little insight into the creation of her two most popular lunch items; chicken soup, and chicken in Achiote Sauce.

For the chicken soup, she starts by boiling chicken in a pot of water. While the water is boiling, she sautés onion in a seperate pan, and then blends in tomato and garlic. Once the chicken is boiled, she removes it and adds the tomato mixture to the boiling broth. She shreds up the chicken and places it aside. Next she adds in chopped carrots, potato, cilantro, peas, green beans, and cabbage to the base and lets it boil. After a while she adds the chicken back in and lets it cook to perfection.

For the Achiote sauce, you can find plenty of recipes online, but Maria says she simply puts Achiote paste in a blender, fills halfway with water, the other half vinegar, and adds garlic and seasonings and blends it all together to make the sauce. Once the sauce is prepared, she simply marinates chicken breasts for a while before baking! And there you have it; Chicken in Achiote Sauce

Maria’s delectable cooking is one more reason children LOVE the CDA! Thank you for six years of satisfaction Maria!

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CDA Kids Enjoy Donuts for Dads

Last week’s Donuts for Dads was a great success! It seems it’s becoming an annual tradition for CDA kids – sharing donuts with fathers, grandfathers, and uncles who join their children for a morning in the classroom.

Donuts for Dads Close upThe Child Development Association was pleased to welcome 35 dads (and granddads and uncles) at the Children’s Center, as they visited toddler, preschool, and pre-K classrooms.

Dads were able to join their children around the table, with a glass of orange juice and donuts. Often, other boys and girls would gather around to listen or chat. Then each dad was able to follow his child’s interests, accompanying him or her to any center they wished to share an activity together.

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Holiday Happenings at the Child Development Association!

There have been many holiday happenings at the Child Development Association (CDA) as the children enjoy an increasing number of wonderful learning experiences – not to mention acts of great generosity and community.

CDAKids Pre-K C heads to the balletThanks to Nancy Tolbert-Yilmaz, our Pre-K enjoyed a performance of The Nutcracker by the Roswell Dance Theatre on a recent field trip to the Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Not only were the children remarkably well-behaved, but they got to meet some of the dancers afterward.

You may enjoy Ms. Candice’s “Nutcracker Book” on the experience, not to mention the delighted faces of the children pictured here.

And did you know that Pre-K B managed a camping trip – in their classroom? That was exciting – and a terrific learning experience!

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Warm Reviews, Wonderful Friends, and Stone Soup

This week at the Child Development Association we enjoyed the satisfaction of warm reviews, wonderful gifts, and a sizable vat of Stone Soup!

Thanks to excellent reviews received from our community of friends and supporters, the CDA has earned a place on the Great Nonprofits Top-Rated 2012 List.

The Top Rated winners are eligible for national media coverage via media partners like The Huffington Post and TakePart, as well as thousands of corporate giving programs throughout the US during the upcoming giving season.

Just think what that could do for our CDA kids, not to mention our community! You can see our reviews here.

But there’s more to share with you about our week.

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