'Step Up For Kids' helps interior families find resources, affordable childcare

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Children's Museum was filled with laughter, as the annual 'Step Up For Kids' Event kicked off on Friday. 'Step Up for Kids' is an event that is held every year. Not just within our community but nation-wide. This event takes place annually to raise awareness for children and working families. The local non-profit, Thrive Alaska, who provides resources such as affordable childcare and early learning opportunities held the 'Step Up For Kids' event this year.

Alicia Berka, the Executive Director, and Lisa McDaniel, Human Resource Manager for Thrive, shared what 'Step Up for Kids' is all about and why it is such an important event.

"We have a committee of board members and staff that work for a whole year and we have two big events every year at thrive Alaska. We have our first Friday in April and our 'Step Up For Kids' in the fall, and we tie it in with our national 'Step Up For Kids', and it's all about advocating children from birth to five, advocating for their birth, development and just for children in general and funding children's programs," Berka said.

Berka and McDaniel both say from the time a child is born, the brain is developing, and what parents or caregivers do to help stimulate positive learning helps set young children up for success when they attend school and as they grow into adulthood.

"Eighty percent of a child's brain is developed by the time that they are three. By the time that they are five, 90 percent of their brain is developed. Activities, good early quality learning programs, accessible and affordable programs are important for families if they want to work or go to school," she said.

Berka describes Alaska as a desert for childcare with not enough facilities and a lack of funding for the high demand. 'Step Up For Kids' is designed to fill that need by providing information and resources to families.

Any families looking to find available resources can contact Thrive Alaska at 479-0900.