Who inspires you professionally or personally? And why?
I am a student at Ouachita Baptist University, and one of my professors inspires me both personally and professionally. His name is Johan Erikkson, and he is one of the entrepreneurship professors at OBU. He shows up to all of his classes with energy, joy, and tenacity, and brings with him a love for teaching. He also invests in his students and understands the importance of relationships. Johan has invested in me and acts as my professional mentor when I am at Ouachita. He has connected me with people and allowed me to explore possible career options. I appreciate his constant encouragement. He always pushes me to reach my full potential.

What are some of your hobbies?
I feel like I have very normal habits (haha)! I like to do almost anything with my friends. Whether that’s binging a TV show on Netflix or going to window-shop at Target. I also really like to read! I’m currently reading Undistracted by Bob Goff (I would highly recommend). I also enjoy writing from time-to-time as well. I hope to write a book someday!

What is your most treasured accomplishment?
So far I have maintained a 4.0 throughout my entire school career. I’ve always enjoyed school and like the challenge that college has brought me. I work hard in school because I always try to do my best with whatever I am working on. I have spent many hours of my life studying, so I would have to say that my grades are my most treasured accomplishment yet so far.

What do you do to treat yourself?
I live in Greenbrier, Arkansas, when I’m home for the summer. There is a spot that I found in high school where I still go today. We call it the Sunset Spot. I love going there with a few close friends, listening to music, and talking about life! Then we normally drive around our small town with the windows down blasting music and finish the night with ice cream. That’s an ideal night for me and definitely how I treat myself.

What is one thing you cannot do without?
Definitely my family and friends in my close circle. They mean the world to me and have shaped who I am today!

If you are an educator and want to share your story,
contact Deborah at!

Wellness Corner

Hydration and Skin Care

Choosing healthy beverages can sometimes be a challenge with young children. Go NAPSACC best practices suggest ECE programs always offer water to children and always make water available indoors and outdoors. Staying hydrated has many benefits. Proper hydration can help with digestive regulation, joint lubrication, improved concentration, and even fewer wrinkles! Many scientists suggest adults should be drinking around 50% of their body weight (in oz) per day. For example, a 150 lb adult should be drinking around 75 oz of water per day. This graphic shows how much water your children should be drinking.

Help start the hydration conversation with this Grow Healthy Kids Toolkit provided by CACFP that can be found in the Tips and Materials library on Go NAPSACC! For more information about our Child Nutrition trainings aligned with Go NAPSCC, reach out to

For more on hydration and skin care, check out June's Well-Being Wednesday speaker below. Cassandra Benning is owner of the Floating Lotus Yoga Studio! 

Well-Being Wednesday (Ep. 26): Hydration & Skincare

Highlights from the DCCECE Provider Call
June 6, 2023

DCCECE Updates:
June Meeting Agenda

  • Background Check Notary Changes

  • Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwinding

  • Child Care Provider Guest Speaker

  • DCCECE Updates

Background Check Notary Changes

  • The background check form is electronic and no longer required to be notarized.

  • Contact: Brinda Burr, 501-320-8926,

  • Contact: Kayla Bodi, 501-320-8926,

Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwinding

Child Care Provider Guest Speaker

  • Mindy Shaw (Pre-K Director - Batesville School District) shared how the program has used the federal relief funding to implement the Muttigrees curriculum, install telephones in every classroom, and more.

DCCECE Updates

  • Hot Weather Vehicle Alert- Reminder to pay close attention to detail and procedures when transporting children

  • Child Care Billing- Over the past two weeks there was a gap in child care billing due to a system error. This error has been corrected. Contact DCCECE in the future if billing errors occur.

  • DCCECE is currently receiving several maltreatment investigations. Tonya Williams encouraged providers to focus on risk mitigation and raising awareness to attention to detail in programs.

  • The LEARNS Act is currently on pause due to a lawsuit.

  • Essential Worker Program: Effective immediately, the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education will begin accepting A VERY LIMITED NUMBER of applications for a new extension of the Essential Worker program. We will prioritize the following applicants:

    • Those who live in disaster areas

      • Pulaski County

      • Lonoke County

      • Cross County

    • Those who work in Early Education

Next Child Care Provider Call: August 1, 2023 at 12:00 pm (No July call)

If you'd like to learn more, you can watch the meeting on the DCCECE DHS YouTube Channel.

The AECA Conference will be back in-person in October! It is returning to the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock from October 11th through the 14th.

The theme of this year’s conference is Learn to Play, Play to Learn. This year’s gathering will focus on the importance of play to early childhood development. 

To highlight the focus on play, Lisa Murphy will be one of the keynote speakers this year. If anyone defines play, it is Lisa. As an outspoken advocate, Lisa is known for her commitment to creating child-centered, play-based early childhood environments and her fierce protection of childhood. Over 30 years, she has written five books, produced numerous trainings and serves on many early childhood boards. AECA had the honor of hosting Lisa several years ago and she always delivers an effective message of letting children be little!

This year's theme is The Power of Belonging — Positive Childhood Experiences.


Thursday, August 3, 2023


8:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.


Pulaski Technical College
Grand Hall A & B

The keynote speaker this year is Christina Bethell, PhD, MPH, MBA, Director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) for the Bloomberg School of Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Bethell's life and professional career focus on patient-centered child health to identify, measure, and prevent ACEs and promote Positive Childhood Experiences. She will provide the latest in research and information and share her experiences creating systems that rely on family engagement tools to evaluate and intervene with families.

Find out more!


Well-Being Wednesdays are the first Wednesday of every month!  Join us on Facebook! If you missed a Well-Being Wednesday, you can also find them on our YouTube Channel.

Curricula Concepts Inc. is offering trainings online via Zoom for families and educators!
Go to our Training Calendar to sign up! Have questions or problems with registering for trainings? Contact Deborah at!

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"I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket."
-Kellie Elmore

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