Program Updates and our Words of Wisdom

Building Healthy Habits: A Guide for Parents

By ASCC Admin | February 20, 2024
By Danielle Porter, Guest Author As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to grow up healthy, happy, and with a strong sense of self. One way we can help them achieve that is by empowering them to make healthy choices. By teaching our kids about healthy eating habits and lifestyle practices, we can set them up for success in all areas of their lives. In this article from Candelen, we will discuss some tips and resources for empowering kids to make healthy choices. Visiting The Doctor Ongoing healthcare for your children is essential for their… View Article Read More

Candelen New Program Announcement: NewRoots

By Paige Bosma | February 1, 2024
Funded by Bezos Family Foundation and the HS Lopez Family Foundation, Candelen is proud to be launching a new prenatal program in Arizona called NewRoots. NewRoots was developed in response to the alarming rates of maternal and infant mortality in the state of AZ, especially in marginalized communities. According to the March of Dimes, the preterm birth rate among babies born to Black birthing people is 1.4 times higher than the rate among all other babies and similarly, infant mortality is 2.1 times higher. Indigenous women, according to the AZ Department of Health Services are four times more likely to… View Article Read More

Love is a Professional Word

By Madeleine Lovett | April 25, 2023
Last year, I attended “Keeping Families Together,” a one-day event put on by Our Sister Our Brother. We had the good fortune of having Aysha Schomburg, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, give a welcome address. Associate Commissioner Schomburg spoke of the urgent need to provide supports and resources to keep families safely together, and prevent family separation. She called on us – all of us – to see ourselves in those that we seek to serve. To resist seeing ourselves as separate. To observe the systems we are within and to examine the parts causing harm to our communities… View Article Read More

Candelen Announces New Chief Executive Officer, Rob Podlogar

By Madeleine Lovett | March 30, 2023
Candelen is elated to announce the appointment of Rob Podlogar as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. Rob is joining the Candelen team from Valley of the Sun United Way, where he has served as the Chief Community Development and Engagement Officer since Fall 2020. In this role, he applied his unique blend of community programming and philanthropic experiences to tightly align community needs with major donor and foundation interests and priorities. Rob Podlogar The Candelen Board of Directors is thrilled that Rob has agreed to become Candelen’s next CEO. We feel that his experience, passion, and charisma make him… View Article Read More

Inhale & Exhale: The Fight Against Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

By Madeleine Lovett | March 14, 2023
CONTENT WARNING: This post discusses topics – including suicidal thoughts, mental illness, and weapons – that some readers may find distressing. Continue reading at your own discretion. There is a common belief that childbirth is a magical time for mothers, and that when a baby is born, beautiful maternal feelings magically appear. For many women, this isn’t the case. They battle feelings of anxiety, depression, sadness, powerlessness, and the inability to care for their infant. Below, three Candelen employees – Ashleigh, Ruth, and Kerrie – tell the stories of their battles with postpartum depression and anxiety. Photo by Jenna Norman… View Article Read More

A Love Letter to Family Child Care

By Patty Nordahl | February 14, 2023
I once had a parent look at me and say “I’d rather clean toilets than run my own child care business.” I had to tell her, tongue in cheek, that cleaning toilets was definitely part of my job. And while my job can be difficult and frustrating, there’s something indescribably beautiful about caring for children. I “fell” into family child care at the ripe age of 37 after my youngest daughter was born. I had every intention of going back to work as a preschool director after a 2-month leave, but when she was born, I realized I just couldn’t… View Article Read More

Encouraging a Curious Child’s Natural Talents: 5 Fields of Study to Introduce to Children

By Madeleine Lovett | January 24, 2023
Young children are inquisitive by nature. This curiosity is fundamental for a child’s overall development, and plays a major role in learning, discovery, and creativity. But as curiosity flourishes amidst new challenges, learning opportunities, and people, parents play a pivotal role in making sure it is nurtured. Fortunately, there are countless ways you can encourage children to think creatively and critically. This includes introducing fields of study that exercise their natural sense of curiosity and talent. Below, we have piled together some of our favorite topics to spark wonder in your young learner. Photo by Joseph Rosales Archeology Many children… View Article Read More

Tips to Organize Your Family Calendar in 2023

By Madeleine Lovett | December 20, 2022
Parenting is a roller coaster of things to remember. From soccer practice and dentist appointments to field trips and monthly PTA meetings, the lists can seem never-ending. Whether you are a family of 2 or 12, keeping an organized family calendar can sometimes feel overwhelming. So how can you make it easier? What’s the best way to ensure you don’t overschedule? How can everyone get on the same page? We’ve put together some of our favorite tips to help keep everyone – including you – on task, on time, and happy. Photo by Carl Heyerdahl Technology Can Save You Time… View Article Read More

Candelen Among Phoenix Business Journal’s 2022 Best Places to Work

By Madeleine Lovett | December 9, 2022
Candelen is proud to announce it has been named by the Phoenix Business Journal (PBJ) as one of the 2022 Best Places to Work in Phoenix. Candelen ranked 11th in the Small Companies category. We are honored to be recognized as one of Phoenix’s Best Places to Work! This award celebrates the steps we’ve proudly taken to develop a warm, encouraging culture where employees feel engaged, welcomed, and valued. To our phenomenal employees: Candelen thanks you endlessly for your hard work and commitment to our mission of supporting communities, families, and kids. Without you, none of this would be possible…. View Article Read More

My Birth Plan Was Ruined. Twice.

By Lou Durant | November 8, 2022
CONTENT WARNING: This post discusses pregnancy loss. Continue reading at your own discretion. I will never forget it. It’s like it happened yesterday. I was 20 weeks pregnant in the doctor’s office with cold jelly all over my slightly protruding abdomen. Voices faded in and out as I heard, for the first time, that things didn’t look good with the placement of my baby’s placenta. Sheer panic pulsated through my body as I flashed back to just six months earlier when I learned that my child Cameron had a condition that was incompatible with life. And there was no way… View Article Read More

Domestic Violence Isn’t “One Size Fits All”

By Madeleine Lovett | October 20, 2022
Domestic violence has many forms. These include physical abuse, sexual violence, reproductive coercion, economic abuse, and emotional abuse. Relationships begin on a good note without any red flags to detect. One thing that remains constant that all perpetrators of domestic violence maintain is power and control. These patterns include controlling choices on how to dress or relationships with family members and friends. An abusive partner may stop or prevent a survivor from going to work, control how they spend their money, and even ruin their credit. Tactics of abuse specifically against LGBTQ+ survivors of intimate partner violence include threatening to… View Article Read More

Pregnancy & Birth: The Stuff Nobody Talks About

By Madeleine Lovett | September 13, 2022
-What does it feel like to give birth? -Is it safe to have sex while I’m pregnant? -My body is changing in ways I didn’t expect. Is that normal? -I don’t feel anything for my newborn. Will I be a bad mother? -How can I shift my mindset in the event that my birth plan fails? -What happens if I poop while I’m giving birth? Being a new mother, or preparing to become one, raises a million new questions. And sometimes we’re just too nervous or embarrassed to ask them. On September 7, 2022, Candelen presented a live, open dialog… View Article Read More

The Cultural Effects on Mental Health & Wellness

By Amy Vanderjack | August 30, 2022
What comes to mind when you think about culture? Food? Art? Language? Values? Mental health is not often included in this list, but it is very important to consider how culture can influence mental health. Cultural influences affect our behaviors, how we cope with mental health issues, the support that we have, the decision to seek support if needed, and even how it impacts our loved ones. As a Mexican first-generation woman, it was earth-shattering to realize how long it took me to begin therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in the benefits of therapy. I even obtained… View Article Read More

No Is A Complete Sentence (And Other Ways To Set Boundaries)

By Madeleine Lovett | August 15, 2022
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been asked to do something, given advice we didn’t ask for, or in a conversation with someone who is trying to wear us down. In these situations, “no” can be a complete sentence, but setting up boundaries (and knowing how to articulate them) can allow you to be in more authentic and sustainable relationships. While boundaries can sound like something complicated or serious, the simplest definition is what you are okay and not okay with. When we let people do or say things that we are not okay with, we can become resentful… View Article Read More

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

By Lou Durant | July 20, 2022
Often when we dream of having multiple children, we imagine them holding hands, sharing their toys and secrets, and playing together beautifully. Then reality hits. At one point or another, sibling rivalry will rear its ugly head and parents will feel like the referee at a national debate… or worse, an MMA match. But why? Why won’t your kids just get along? There are many causes of sibling rivalry that can range from lack of social language and inability to self-regulate to difficulty empathizing and different temperament styles. Additionally, these issues can sometimes be intensified by family culture, especially around… View Article Read More

Signs of Mental Distress in Children That Are Easy to Miss

By Madeleine Lovett | June 28, 2022
We often assume that if our children are in distress or experiencing mental health difficulties that they would be obvious, vocalized, and noticeable. Unfortunately, they can often be hard to see or symptoms might show up in ways that you don’t expect. Below are a few of the more common signs of mental distress that show up in children, what they may be signs of, and what you can do about it. Anger One of the most commonly missed signs is anger. If a child is feeling overwhelmed with their emotions, they’re more likely to be emotionally reactive. For a… View Article Read More

Criar Niños Bilingües

By Jorge Flores | June 14, 2022
Históricamente, los inmigrantes que vienen a este país con un idioma nativo que no sea el inglés tienen que decidir entre 1) adoptar el inglés como el primer y único idioma de sus hijos o 2) instruir a sus hijos para que adopten dos idiomas. Cuando pregunté a familiares, amigos y vecinos sobre sus decisiones, descubrí que a menudo estaban influenciadas por las experiencias personales de cada persona, así como por las historias compartidas en sus comunidades por quienes llegaron a este país cuando eran niños en los años 60, 70 y 80. Muchas familias han decidido enseñar solo inglés… View Article Read More

Candelen Receives Grant from Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

By Madeleine Lovett | June 6, 2022
Candelen has been selected as a Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust grant recipient! The grant, in the amount of $70,000, will support in delivering the Kith and Kin program in the West Valley, as well as creation of in-home literacy corners for family, friend, and neighbor caregivers. We are so thankful for the support that the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has given Candelen. Together, we will be able to ensure that more children get the support and resources they need during the most critical timeframe for development. We can’t wait to see where these kids go in life! Mona… View Article Read More

Ultimate Guide to Potty Training

By Tabitha Fisher | May 31, 2022
Two words that can strike fear and panic in any parent, both new and seasoned… POTTY. TRAINING. *cue shudder* For parents who have done this before, those words might trigger a highlight reel that revisits all of the accidents, meltdowns, tears, and unsolicited advice. And that’s not even including what my children did… For new parents, it means their baby is growing up, and it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start or what advice to consider. I’m here to give you some tried and true advice that not only worked on my own children, but the hundreds… View Article Read More

5 Easy Spring Crafts for Kids

By Madeleine Lovett | May 24, 2022
Springtime is the perfect time to get inspired by fresh food, favorite critters, fragrant flowers, and more! Lakeshore Learning Materials has great ways to celebrate the season with hands-on crafts kids will love using a lot of materials you probably have around the house! Best of all, each craft offers plenty of opportunities for learning while bringing out kids’ creativity. Take a look at the five spring crafts below and get started today! Craft 1: 3-D Spring Scenes Spring is here! Get ready for the warmer weather with Lakeshore’s seasonal 3-D craft. Click here for instructions. Note: This activity is… View Article Read More

Bonding With Your Newborn Doesn’t Always Come Naturally

By Kavita Bernstein | May 10, 2022
I have been fortunate to have many friends and family members who have experienced pregnancy. And, inevitably, in the conversation leading up to their expected due date, I ask if I may share a piece of advice. That advice is this: It’s okay to not love your baby right away. I always get a blank look, coupled with a brief moment of silence, followed by sentiments similar to “nobody has told me that yet.” But think through what we’re subconsciously taught about the birthing experience through movies, television, the news, and social media. Right after a baby is born, the… View Article Read More

Advice for New Dads: 8 of Our Favorite Survival Tips

By Paige Bosma | April 20, 2022
Congrats, you had a baby! I know you’re nervous. Maybe even a little scared. I get it-you don’t want to mess it up. And no matter what I say to you, you’re going to feel that inevitable uncertainty of the future. But I can give you a few tips on what personally helped me during this new stage in life… Chance, his wife Sumaiya, and their son Caleb Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. My wife and I made a cross-country move while she was 7 months pregnant with our first child. Then, due to… View Article Read More

Creating Planet Earth: Saying Yes to Outdoor Play

By Madeleine Lovett | April 12, 2022
What is the most important place on the planet for children? Is it the Amazon Rain Forest? The Pacific Ocean? The Himalayan Mountains? As adults, we may think of lofty places of great natural importance as the most important place for children to learn and grow, and yet, the most important place on the planet for young children is right outside your door. That’s right. The place that children visit every day is actually the most important place in the world… CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING This blog, written by Rusty Keeler, is in partnership with Kaplan Early Learning Materials…. View Article Read More

Talking to Kids About Tough Sh*t

By Madeleine Lovett | March 30, 2022
Divorce. Natural disasters. Death of a pet or loved one. School shootings. War. Illness. Sex. Suicide. COVID-19. Bullying. Racism. This kind of sh*t is tough to talk about… especially with our little ones. They don’t have enough life experience to understand some of the elements involved in complex, difficult topics. On March 30, 2022, Candelen presented a live, open dialog centered around helping parents, families, and caregivers navigate those uncomfortable conversations. Watch the recording below to learn about putting things into perspective, fielding questions, and searching for answers together. This event examines real-life experiences from our panelists-Lindsay Olivarez, Britt VanSickle,… View Article Read More

Candelen Announces Virtual Event “Talking to Kids About Tough Sh*t”

By Madeleine Lovett | March 17, 2022
Candelen is pleased to announce their upcoming virtual event, Talking to Kids About Tough Sh*t, starting at 6:00pm MST (Arizona Time) on Tuesday, March 29, through Facebook Live. This event will include raw, open dialogue about navigating conversations with children to address difficult topics such as divorce, death of a loved one or pet, school shootings, sex, suicide, war, illness, natural disasters, COVID-19, bullying, and more. Participants will hear honest, real-life reflections from a diverse panel of parents to dissect what was addressed well in their conversations, what could have been addressed better, and how both adult and child walked… View Article Read More

Is It A Gift To Be Gifted?

By Madeleine Lovett | February 16, 2022
I’m a proud mom, okay? So let’s take a moment to list a few things that my preschooler, Grayson, can do that blow my mind. 1. He can complete a United States puzzle (that doesn’t have any outlines!) and then name a vast majority of the states. 2. He plays Monopoly! We’re talking adding/subtracting most of the money and even asking for change. 3. He can read the calorie intake on the back of the mustard and ketchup jars. 4. He reads the directions for Lego books over and over and over again… 5. He even reads me books that… View Article Read More

Caring For Yourself So That You Can Care For Them

By Beth Giacalone | January 25, 2022
One of the biggest parenting myths is that we lose our identity and rights so that we can meet the needs of our children. The truth, in fact, is the opposite. Not taking care of yourself, not recharging your own batteries, and not taking breaks can make it far more difficult to be a good parent or caregiver. Let’s pretend you broke your leg. Ouch, right? Would you ignore the pain and walk around as if nothing happened? Nope! Not in a million years! Now take that same concept and apply it to your mental health. Your physical and psychological… View Article Read More

Loss Is Nothing But Change, And Change Is Nature’s Delight

By Madeleine Lovett | November 12, 2021
Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight. Marcus Aurelius Candelen is losing our Vice President of Programs, Trish Robinson, as she moves into the next chapter of her professional career and tries her talented hand at the private sector. While change may indeed by Nature’s delight, it is bittersweet to us mere mortals. Trish joined our ranks almost exactly four years ago and has been a transformative leader and an incredible thought partner to me as we have pivoted, heck, fully overhauled the organization. New vision, new programs, new strategies, even a new name and logo… View Article Read More

Candelen Receives Grant from Desert Financial Credit Union to Support Play & Learn

By Madeleine Lovett | October 26, 2021
Candelen has been selected as a Desert Financial Credit Union grant recipient! The grant, in the amount of $15,000, will support in delivering a Play & Learn program in Prescott, including participation in the Language and Literacy Technical Assistance Project. Trish Robinson, Candelen Vice President of Programs, accepting the grant on behalf of Candelen from Desert Financial Credit Union Senior Vice President, Sara Regan Candelen is elated to be partnering with Desert Financial to have a chance to serve Northern Arizona with this essential program. Families are bombarded with messages of what they need to purchase so their children can… View Article Read More

Candelen Receives Grant to Provide Nutrition Education and Healthy Food to Kith & Kin Participants

By Madeleine Lovett | October 13, 2021
Candelen has been selected as a 2021 Neighborhood Grant Partner from the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. The grant, in the amount of $10,000, will help bring healthy snacks and nutrition education to participants in Candelen’s Arizona Kith & Kin Project. Chance Stribling, Candelen Fundraising Coordinator, accepting the grant on behalf of Candelen from Tempe Sprouts Store Manager Anthony Chambers The Neighborhood Grants support organizations working at the community level, providing nutrition education and healthy food access programs to kids. Since 2016, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has awarded more than $2.7 million in Neighborhood Grants to 255 nonprofit organizations across… View Article Read More

It’s My Toddler’s World, We’re Just Living In It

By Ashleigh Leonard | September 21, 2021
If someone told me 18 months ago that I would be introducing my baby, Penny, into childcare after 15 months in lockdown due to a global pandemic, I would have laughed in their face and told them that they were the biggest liar I’d ever met. Well, well, well… look who’s laughing now! Spoiler alert: NOT ME. I was actually sobbing when this became my reality. Let’s set the stage for August 2021, shall we? It’s time. Penny’s Big World Adventure has arrived. As a mom three times over, I knew separating for the first time was going to be… View Article Read More

Candelen’s Call to Adventure

By Madeleine Lovett | July 6, 2021
As I sit here, mere hours after announcing our new name and brand identity, it strikes me that Candelen is embarking upon its own heroic journey. More accurately, its next heroic journey! In our history, we’ve had a few leading these Calls to Adventure. Our founder, Charlotte Hughes. The OG. Our Luke Skywalker. Our longest serving Executive Director, Susan Jacobs. Our General Leia. Over the last 45 years of existence, there were many Calls to Adventure on behalf of working families and children. In those Calls, there were lots of fits and starts, trials and failures. Many mentors and revelations…. View Article Read More

The Association for Supportive Child Care Announces Long-Awaited Rebranding

By Madeleine Lovett | June 30, 2021
The Association for Supportive Child Care (ASCC) is thrilled to announce their long-awaited rebrand as Candelen. For more than four decades, ASCC has been at the forefront of innovative educational programs that nurture children to be their most brilliant selves. The company has embraced the rapid evolution of caregivers’ needs, and the result is a refreshed, modernized organization with promise to continue providing improved education and the best care possible. Four years after the Equal Opportunity Act was passed, the Association for Supportive Child Care was born in order to help working Arizona mothers find child care. Over these 45… View Article Read More

Take Me Out to the Playground

By Ashleigh Leonard | June 15, 2021
Take a minute to stop and think of your favorite childhood game or pastime. What was it? More importantly, where did it take place? Was it an outdoor game? Was it jumping in mud puddles, skipping rocks in a creek, catching fireflies, running in the sprinklers, exploring in the woods, or learning to swim in the ocean? For many of us, it was. We see children today spending more and more time exposed to screens and technology and less and less time exposed to sunshine and nature. Personally, I think that’s sad. When they shooed us out the back door,… View Article Read More

The Bottle Battle

By Madeleine Lovett | May 5, 2021
I gave birth to my third child in late February. Unlike my first two children, I felt a sense of calm and happiness taking care of my newborn. I wasn’t a first time mother anymore. I knew what to expect and I wanted to enjoy this last moment of baby joy in my life. Thank goodness I had some calm built up for my newborn, Hayden. He has colic, a cow’s milk sensitivity through my breastfeeding, and will not take a bottle. You’d think the colic and a dairy-free diet for me would be the biggest issue, but nope! I… View Article Read More

I Am Not The Right Person For This Job

By Madeleine Lovett | April 20, 2021
I held my first baby when I was 22. Seriously! I went 22 years of my life purposefully avoiding the opportunity to hold an infant. -What if “it” slipped out of my hands? -What if I was somehow cutting off circulation and had no idea? -You have to hold their heads a certain way, right? I’ve heard that the top (or back???) is still a little squishy? -What if this sweet, innocent cherub instantly turned on me and blew out the diaper? Then my brother and his wife welcomed their daughter Charlie into our lives in March 2017. I was… View Article Read More

Tips for Introducing Kids to Sustainability

By Madeleine Lovett | April 6, 2021
“Waste not, want not,” isn’t just something we tell our kids to get them to their dinner. We want them to learn the importance of sustainability. Protecting the environment and revitalizing the Earth is essential for their future. Teaching kids to protect the Earth’s resources also helps them to learn responsibility. From recycling to gardening, here are some tips for introducing kids to sustainability. Place separate bins (cans, bottles, plastics, and paper) out for recycling. Then help your children create signs and pictures with construction paper, crayons or markers, glue and glitter, and anything else you can find in your… View Article Read More

Early Life Lessons to Teach Your Kid

By Madeleine Lovett | March 16, 2021
It’s no secret that children are more receptive to learning than adults. In fact, a study from the Developmental Psychology journal notes that children tend to distribute their attention widely, unlike adults who are likely to selectively focus on information that they think is more important. Because of this, kids are better at noticing things and picking up new skills. This is why you should teach your kids valuable life lessons that they can use throughout their life while they are still young. Doing so raises your child’s chances of becoming an independent, successful, and self-sufficient adult. Below are some… View Article Read More


By Ruth Ray | February 23, 2021
I want to paint a picture of idealism vs. reality and motherhood. I know anyone who has children, whether you have one or five kids, knows that there is a big difference between what you want to do as a mom and what you actually do. Even though I consider myself a modern mother and working woman, I somehow automatically revert to June Cleaver status occasionally when it comes to how I view myself and my capabilities of being a mom. This was just as true when I envisioned having my second daughter recently. For months leading up to my… View Article Read More

Candelen Receives Grant to Empower Early Childhood Caregivers and Teachers

By Madeleine Lovett | February 11, 2021
Candelen has received a $20,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to support the Kith & Kin program. The grant will fund a 15-week series of weekly sessions that provide training and support to Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) child care providers to improve the quality of care provided to young children. We applaud the work that Candelen is doing to make sure that home-based child care providers receive the necessary training and supportive resources they need to keep kids safe, healthy and happy; they too are essential workers and without them, there is no economic recovery. Cathleen Walker PNC Regional… View Article Read More

Why is he different? Why am I different? Talking to Kids About Race

By Madeleine Lovett | January 22, 2021
On January 21, 2021, Candelen presented a live, open dialog centered around race and raising kids via Facebook Live. Watch the recording below to hear honest reflections from a diverse panel on how they navigate differences, racism, and privilege with their kids. This event was facilitated by Mona Qafisheh, Candelen Director of Grants and Contracts. The panel of parents included: Candida Hunter, First Things First Senior Director of Tribal Affairs Aaliyah Samuel, NWEA Executive VP of Government Affairs & Partnerships Jorge Flores, Candelen Early Childhood Trainer Dawn Henry, Candelen Director of Human Resources Lindsay Olivarez, Candelen Board Chair, contributor to… View Article Read More

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

By Madeleine Lovett | January 13, 2021
Child care providers are prioritized in COVID-19 vaccination distribution in Phase 1B, which in some parts of the state starts now. For more information on vaccination sites by county, visit the ADHS COVID-19 Vaccine Webpage or contact your tribal health entity. Count contacts can be found here. Read More

Candelen Announces Virtual Event “Talking to Kids About Race”

By Madeleine Lovett | January 12, 2021
Candelen is pleased to announce an upcoming virtual event “Why is he different? Why am I different? Talking to Kids About Race” starting at 5:00pm MST on Thursday, January 21, through Facebook Live. This event presents a live, open dialogue centered on race and raising kids. Participants will hear honest reflections from a diverse panel on how they navigate differences, racism, and privilege with their kids. The panel includes Candida Hunter, a senior leader in Tribal Affairs; Aaliyah Samuel, an executive in Government Affairs & Partnerships; Jorge Flores, an early childhood trainer; Dawn Henry, a leader in Human Resources; and… View Article Read More

ASCC (Candelen) Among Phoenix Business Journal’s 2020 Best Places to Work

By Madeleine Lovett | December 10, 2020
Candelen, previously Association for Supportive Child Care, has been named by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the 2020 Best Places to Work in the valley. Candelen ranked 13th in the Small Companies category. More than 100 valley-wide companies were recognized on December 8, 2020 at the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2020 Best Places to Work virtual event. These companies were selected based on the results of confidential employee engagement surveys from Quantum Workplace where, according to the survey results, 72.9% of Phoenix-area employees are highly engaged, up from last year’s 67.7%. Read More

Blood Fuels the Greatness of America

By Madeleine Lovett | October 7, 2020
As a young boy, I spent hours and hours trying to imagine myself as the hero, the explorer, and the adventurer of great stories. I found it very difficult because I was never introduced to examples of African Americans as courageous contributors to the great story of America. In elementary school, I received my first Social Studies book and my teacher explained with great enthusiasm that this book contained the stories of people who made America great. I tore through the book searching chapter after chapter for a story that would finally affirm my place, my presence, in America’s great… View Article Read More

Candelen CEO Speaks with KAWC 88.9 About Child Care During the Pandemic

By Madeleine Lovett | September 10, 2020
Arizona Edition: Child Care in the Time of Covid-19 This year the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance released data indicating a third of the state-licensed childcare centers have been forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have an industry on the brink of collapse.” – Nicole Newhouse, Candelen CEO The centers still in operation are at 38% capacity, according to Newhouse. Candelen is a decades-old non-profit that provides guidance, training, and support for formal and informal childcare providers. “We were formed at a time when women were just getting into the workforce. At that time there were no childcare… View Article Read More

New Candelen Board Chair Announced

By Madeleine Lovett | July 7, 2020
Candelen, a nonprofit dedicated to championing children by providing services, resources, and support to adults impacting kids from ages 0 to 8 years, announced the appointment of Lindsay Olivarez as Chair of its Board of Directors. Olivarez, who joined the Candelen Board in 2015, succeeds Joanne Floth who served as Chair since 2017. Lindsay Olivarez “It has been a great honor to have served as Chair of the Candelen Board of Directors,” said Floth. “I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments over the past six years. We have helped over 63,000 children gain positive beginnings and quality early education experiences… View Article Read More

Swimming Pool Safety

By Ruth Ray | June 30, 2020
Raising a six-year-old active little girl in Arizona requires a lot of time and energy to ensure I’m hitting all the marks while keeping her happy and safe, especially during these times I have had the pleasure to be a rare Arizona native, and I recognize that by mid-May the heat index can feel like 120 by 9:00 am. Arizona natives know how important it is when this time of year happens to gravitate to any source of relief, often times finding our solace sitting in a nice pool with the family. We also know that every year we have… View Article Read More

Candelen Announces Free COVID-19 Training for All Caregivers in Arizona

By Madeleine Lovett | June 25, 2020
Candelen is providing free virtual training to all child care providers to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 in preschools, child care centers, and home-based settings. The training includes basic information about COVID-19 guidance when caring for children during the pandemic, and how to help prevent the spread of viruses. This training is free to all child care providers as a result of funding from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. “Keeping kids safe and healthy is our first priority,” commented Nicole Newhouse, Candelen CEO. “We know child care is essential for most families and crucial for the recovery of… View Article Read More

Handling Kids’ Emotions and Behaviors (Dr. Garcia)

By Madeleine Lovett | June 12, 2020
Dr. Isela Garcia, of the Alesi Group, discusses how to handle behaviors and emotions of kids with Candelen Coach Supervisor, Amy Vanderjack. Read More

Candelen Receives Multiple Awards to Help Struggling Home-Based Caregivers and Child Care Centers

By Madeleine Lovett | May 19, 2020
Candelen has been awarded $100,000 to establish a regional emergency fund to provide relief grants to non-licensed home-based child care providers by Home Grown, a national collaborative of funders committed to improving the quality of and access to home-based child care. Candelen is partnering with Arizona’s Children Association, the United Way of Pinal County, and Child Care Resource & Referral – Arizona, a program of Child & Family Resources, to distribute cash gift cards to family, friend and neighbor home based child care providers across the State of Arizona. Candelen will operate as the administrative home for the regional emergency… View Article Read More

To Play Date or Not Play Date Live Discussion

By Madeleine Lovett | May 15, 2020
Join Nicole Newhouse, Candelen CEO, and Trish Robinson, Candelen VP of Programs, for a live discussion on Facebook as they explore the struggle that parents are facing as the State starts to open back up. Read More

To Playdate or Not To Playdate, That is the Question

By Amy Vanderjack | May 11, 2020
Last week, as the announcement came for a slow re-opening of the state, parents of some of my daughter’s friends have started to text asking which families are comfortable allowing the kids to see each other, play and hang out. My first response was, ‘H*** yes!’ These kids need social interaction, and even more so now that it’s getting hot and the recharging benefits of outdoor play is limited. Plus, the opportunity to have them go somewhere else for a few hours, or even have a friend here that cancels out their need to continuously need me-or get on each… View Article Read More

Looking Back at 7 Years of Parenting

By Lindsay Olivarez | April 27, 2020
It’s April and my oldest daughter, Ellary, turns seven at the end of the month. I know it sounds corny to say, but here it is: I literally do NOT know how we hit seven. Seven sounds so old. Riding bikes in the neighborhood old. Drop-off party old.  Gaining independence old. My girl is a complicated jumble of contradictions. She can be so jealous of not being the center of attention, but, when left on her own on a Saturday morning, you’ll most likely find her reading to her baby sister. She rages and screams “you’re the worst mom ever!”… View Article Read More

Pretty Good Educator, Sub-par Mom

By Madeleine Lovett | March 30, 2020
Yesterday, my last virtual meeting ended with me holding Clorox wipes in one hand and shouting to my three-year-old son Grayson to stand in the bathroom so no one on the screen would see that he had stripped himself down to his birthday suit. I was fortunate enough to be with other teachers, but sometimes I am not sure how my new lifestyle of work-life integration will work for others. It’s not voluntary anymore for the whole world, but the new reality of how we will be working, living, and surviving. I have always known I have wanted to be… View Article Read More

Loving the Big-ish Age Gap

By Lindsay Olivarez | March 16, 2020
My two daughters are accidentally-on-purpose 5 ½ years apart. We waited until our oldest was 3 before trying for a second, but it accidentally took 2 ½ years for her to arrive. Why? To be cliché about it, life happened. Specifically, “delay of game” orders due to Zika virus and surgery to repair a broken toe, unexpected infertility, a devastating miscarriage, and, finally, our rainbow pregnancy all happened. Our second daughter was 2 ½ years in the making but unquestionably worth the wait. Moving from one to two is hard. Moving from one to two with 5 ½ years in… View Article Read More

Co-Parenting—Lifetime Work In Progress

By Amy Vanderjack | March 3, 2020
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first week of my new job and my third week in Arizona. I sat in a conference with my new team listening to a keynote talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). She was rattling off the nine experiences most common, then it felt like a knife went right into my stomach, “…one of the most common ACEs in all 50 states is divorce or separation.” I had heard this a million times, but this time was different. My body started shaking, eyes began to well up, and I had to… View Article Read More

My First Anxiety Attack

By Ruth Ray | February 3, 2020
My first anxiety attack happened suddenly and unexpectedly. I was just leaving work as a preschool teacher when it happened right there in the school parking lot. My head began to spin, my heart raced, and I began to sweat. Soon after, I visited my doctor. The doctor asked, “Are you feeling stressed?” I reflected on this question… Here I am mother of two young children, husband away on a military deployment (again), preschool teacher with a few children with major behavior challenges… I said, “No, I’m not stressed.” He then assured me the attack was brought on by stress…. View Article Read More

Candelen Receives $744,000 Multi-Year Parsons Grant

By Madeleine Lovett | January 16, 2020
Candelen has been awarded a $744,000 multi-year grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to deliver its Play & Learn series across Maricopa County. The program provides training and support for non-licensed childcare providers – like neighborhood babysitters and family members – where 60 percent of children in Arizona spend their early and most formative years. Children in these settings often arrive at kindergarten less prepared and with a lower ability to be successful than children who attend traditional preschool programs. “It’s an unfortunate reality that children living in poverty are less likely to receive the early learning experiences… View Article Read More

YAAASSSSS, Queen!!! Making Over an Organization

By Madeleine Lovett | January 9, 2020
The fab 5 are back and they have enthralled my whole family! Like all of us, the hubs included. I spied my youngest (9) talking to a friend about how to put on perfume, “spray, delay, and walk away!” I mean, #gorgeous! Read More