Why we give….

Growing up, my mom told us how hard it was to find good childcare in Anchorage in the 1970s. And the 1980s. And the 1990s. She told us, “When the doctor confirmed you were pregnant, the first person you called was your husband. The second person was Mrs. Mounts, the director of Hillcrest.” I was the third person in my family to be a Hillcrest Kid in 1983 (I still have my button!), and in 2017 I followed mom’s advice when we started our family. The first person I told was my husband. My second call was to Christina Eubanks-Ohana, and Henry started Hillcrest in May of 2018.

50 years after my mom had difficulty finding good childcare in Anchorage, that task is still nearly impossible. Parents are left with few choices and finding something that’s “good enough” will have to do. But tucked away on a hill is an enclave of love, support, encouragement, resilience, and community, teaching those humane fundamentals to the thousands of kids who have walked through its doors. 

Hillcrest isn’t “good enough”. Hillcrest is great. In Anchorage, Hillcrest is the Gold Standard.

The teachers and staff at Hillcrest don’t just teach. They love. And they don’t just love the kids in their classroom, but the entire family. In the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 shut down our entire city and things were, at best, uncertain, Hillcrest remained open and managed to maintain continuity and routine in the lives of our kids. They opened their doors to kids in older grades as a place to still go to school when ASD moved to online learning. They provided then and continue now to provide what we all so desperately craved in those early and scary days of 2020: an extraordinary act of love. 

Hillcrest has managed to weather literal and figurative storms for 50 years but cannot do it alone. This little brown building holds greatness within its walls but needs help to grow, improve, and honor its staff and teachers for their relentless pursuit of kindness, goodness, and, most of all, love.

This campaign provides for:

Please consider generously participating in Hillcrest’s Annual Giving Campaign. 

  • staff end-of-year bonuses
  • improvements to the classrooms and building
  • a building maintenance reserve fund

Thank you for your generosity. The next generation of Hillcrest kids will be so grateful for your own extraordinary act of love. 

Thank you,
Catherine A. Sullivan
(Hillcrest alumnus, 1983)

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Why We Give….

Our son, Cole, began attending Hillcrest at 3 months old and is now in the Older Toddler classroom. Our first year at Hillcrest really opened our hearts to why it is such a special place with very special people.
When I would come to pick Cole up during the first year, I would spend a few extra minutes talking to Ms. Renae because her slow, calm demeanor just drew you in. Every day some older children would come and ring the windchime at her door as a ritual of saying hello as they passed or goodbye as they left for the day. Even school-age kids that were volunteering their time at the center would pop in to say hi, and she’d look at me and wink, “that’s one of my babies!” she’d proudly say.
One day I brought in my 1986 school picture from when I was attending Hillcrest to show Ms. Renae. Even though she wasn’t working there at that time, she called me one of her Hillcrest babies, and I felt the love that all those windchime ringers were feeling. In one of our talks, I shared two memories that had stuck with me that I never saw as significant until my family was part of the Hillcrest family.

In 1986 I was in preschool at Hillcrest. My dad had just arrived to pick me up, and we were outside as he recapped the day with one of my teachers. I can see the Hillcrest building in my mind, the same sun shining through the same tall trees that are there now. As we were walking and talking, my teacher told my dad that I was “bright.” My four-year-old mind assumed it was a sunny day reference. As I got older, this specific memory would pop up from time to time until one day I understood.
My son’s teachers at Hillcrest take the time to connect with me or my husband almost every day when we pick our son up to recap his day. When our son’s teachers share positive affirmations about him as he stands there listening, I can see him beaming when he understands. I know this will positively impact his development and self-confidence throughout his life, just as it did mine.
Another memory I have at Hillcrest was on my birthday in the early ’80s. It was St. Patrick’s Day, and little green feet were going up the sides of the walls because little leprechauns came in the middle of the night! Oh how it held magic to our little imaginations! Fast forward to 2021, when I came to Hillcrest last week to pick up our son. All the children were sitting in their tiny chairs celebrating a birthday with cupcakes. The birthday child was centered at the table wearing a construction paper crown on his head- What a little prince he was! This may be a memory that he carries throughout his lifetime that fills his heart with love.
Each year, Hillcrest has an annual campaign to benefit the center. Tuition covers basic supplies and repairs that our center needs but not larger projects, including necessary things like a fire alarm system upgrade, siding/paint for the center, as well as a newly designed preschool play yard. The annual fund has replaced flooring, a boiler and even helped build a bathroom in the last few years.
In addition to the physical property, we all know the heart of Hillcrest is the staff. Many of the staff put in more than is expected and it is so much more than just a job to them. Childcare in Anchorage, especially now, is becoming increasingly harder to find due to the pandemic. We are more than blessed to have committed teachers and staff that show up every day and pour their love out to help raise our children. As a thank you, the annual campaign also benefits them with a yearly bonus. This bonus is more than a gesture of gratitude- it helps them get the necessary things they need to continue to provide the level of care that we receive for our children, whether it is much-needed vehicle repairs to get them to and from work, or even winter gear so that they can play outside with our children.
As we step into this season of giving, I want you to think about what Hillcrest means to you and your family. For our family, we see tiny hands building kingdoms with wood blocks and playgrounds turned into mud pie kitchens. We see imaginations growing and huge, little hearts overflowing as they nurture their baby dolls during circle time. And if I’m being completely transparent, we look inward and see two parents inspired every day by Hillcrest’s values and philosophy.
If you grew up in Anchorage, you know how much it has changed, yet Hollywood Drive still looks very similar as it did then. Our son today plays within the same walls of that old brown building that I played in almost 40 years ago (and even Mr. Jim is still there!). I know this kind of longevity and care wouldn’t be possible without contributions during the annual campaign. Please consider contributing because your donation truly makes a difference.
You can make a tax-deductible donation via credit card, Paypal, or by dropping a check at Hillcrest. You can also become a Sustaining Family monthly donor through your monthly tuition. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The Medina Family

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Enrollment Update November 2021

We want to thank all families for their interest in Hillcrest. Our classrooms are currently full for the Fall of 2021. We are building an active waitlist for families who would like to be considered for an unexpected opening. It is our practice to only have two families on any classrooms waitlist. This lets us know who is really interested in joining the Hillcrest family while saving families the time and cost of being on waitlists with little hope of getting in.

As explained under the Enrollment section of the website, Hillcrest uses a Guaranteed Start admission process. We do have the following spaces available in the future for a Guaranteed Start:
September 2022 start date for two children born after September 2021.

If you believe Hillcrest may be the right match for your children please email us at hillcrestak@gmail.com with your child’s birthdate/due date to schedule a tour.

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COVID Vaccine Household Requirement

Dear Current and Potential Hillcrest Families,
I have completed the vaccine survey discussed at last week’s board meeting, and I am writing to share the good news that we currently have more than 95 percent vaccination rate among eligible household members. After careful consideration of parents’ comments, the Board has approved a requirement that all vaccine-eligible household members of Hillcrest children be vaccinated. I will follow up individually with the few parents who have lingering concerns about vaccines. The board hopes these families will choose to be vaccinated and remain in the Hillcrest family.
The board’s two goals in reaching this decision are (1) to protect our children, who cannot be vaccinated and (2) to give us all as a community the best chance of keeping the delta variant out of Hillcrest this winter and remaining open. Last year, our children were much less likely to be exposed at home because of the level of masking and social distancing happening in Anchorage. This year with so many of us required to return to work in person and no mask mandates, the best available protection for kids is parents’ vaccines.
We appreciate the thoughtful feedback about children and covid vaccines. It will be many months before a vaccine is approved for children under 5, so the Board will consider the issue of vaccines for children whenever they are finally approved.
Thank you all for your efforts to look out for each other by vaccinating, getting kids tested when they have symptoms, and making careful choices about indoor activities as case counts come up again.

Hillcrest Children’s Center

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June 2021-July 2022 Closures

Hillcrest will be closed for the following dates for Holidays and In-Service Training. Please look under the Hours page for further details.

Monday, July 5th, 2021
Friday and Monday, September 3 and 6th, 2021
Monday, October 18th, 2021
Thursday, November 11th, 2021
Thursday and Friday, November 25th and 26th, 2021
Friday, December 24th and 31st, 2021
Monday, January 17th, 2022
Monday, February 21, 2022
Monday, March 28th, 2022
Friday and Monday, May 27th and 30th, 2022

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COVID Updates

Our operating hours expanded in March from 7:30 am to 6 pm. There is availability between 7 am and 7:30 am by contacting the office.

Parent Night Out, our monthly Saturday night hours, has restarted. The hours are from 2 pm to 8 pm on the second Saturday of the month. Sign-up happens through “signup genius” or by email with the office.

All employees of Hillcrest have received the COVID Vaccine. All new employees will be required to have or obtain the vaccine.

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Thank you!

Dear Hillcrest Families,

I am continually blown away by our community. In the midst of an incredibly trying year for all of us, your generosity during our Annual Campaign was a bright spot.
Thank you to everyone who made contributions this year and encouraged friends and family to do so as well.

Due to the pandemic, we kept this year’s goal simple- to cover staff appreciation. This allows us to give the staff a Holiday bonus and regular appreciation for a job well done. Hillcrest’s goal this year was to raise $8,000. With the generosity of Hillcrest families and alumni families, we met that goal and raised $40,097!

Funds raised will go toward:
A full 2020 holiday bonus for teachers and staff members. Every staff member received a holiday bonus this year, which is adjusted for the number of years worked. The bonuses were issued in December.
The building maintenance reserve fund.
The additional funds allow us to put more money into the reserve fund for continued renovations, primarily the replacement of the windows in the back stairwell of the Infant/Toddler building. These changes will keep the building safe and operating for years to come.
We’d like to acknowledge the following donors (excludes anonymous gifts):

Anonymous, Dana and Jason Billman, Jason and Moire Bockenstedt, Ruth Botstein, Aesha Pallesen and Dario Borghesan, Meliss and Garret Bruesch, Dustin and Hally Cooper, Lindsey and Ronald Dupuis, Dan Dvorak and Bethany Neubarth, Heather and Michael Ebell, Brian and Monica Englund, Greg and Monica French, Irene Granell, Anna and Jim Kohl, Christy and Michael Mazzacavallo, Henry Tashjian and Siobhan McIntyre, Alo and Debbie Medina, Lisa and Justin Miller, Andi Nations, Lara and Nicolas Nations, Harry and Leslie Need, Zoe Olson, Kate Demarest and Kris Reidt, Kate O’Brien and Kirk Rose, Kate Vogel and Mike Schecter, Don and Dixine Schiavi, Chris and Laura Sis, Catherine Sullivan, Sue Ellen Tatter, Cyndie and Mike Teo, Jim and Whitney Wilkson, Adolf and Brandi Zeman

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COVID Procedures

Below are our current COVID Procedures, updated in January 2021. Please note that as new CDC guidelines come out, we will adjust our practice to meet those.

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PayPal Link

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Why we give….

Nate, Elizabeth and Prilo

The week we moved back to Anchorage, I started a new job, and found out we were having a baby. Then we bought a fixer-upper house, complete with pastel 80s bathroom. Finding childcare was another stress, as soon it was time to go back to work, and Nate’s job would take him out of town for long stretches. After trying other options, we visited Hillcrest – which had a spot for Pirlo when he was eight months old. Becoming part of the Hillcrest family was the right fit. We were home! (And eventually, the powder pink bathroom got remodeled at home). 

At Hillcrest, our son is safe, happy, and secure. His teachers create a professional, loving, and supportive environment for learning, fun, and inclusion. Pirlo learns self-regulation, does yoga, makes beautiful arts and crafts, sings and dances, digs in the dirt, and spends time outside, year round. The outdoors focus is important to our family, with our connection to open spaces and the environment. Hillcrest’s focus on community connection is also important – I’ve reconnected with old friends and made new ones too. I feel secure knowing that even though I solo parent often, I have a village. Pirlo and friends recently moved up to preschool – very exciting, although (sniff) mom shed a tear to see them grow so fast.  

Hillcrest continues to grow and change – the boiler, the kitchen, the new floors, the fresh paint, the care and love put in the design and color selection, keeps enhancing this home away from home. Hillcrest is an important part of our life, so I am giving to this year’s Annual Fund campaign. Our monthly budget, like many families, is carefully planned due to the current economy. If your family can factor in a gift, join me in showing your gratitude. The fund will continue to support building deferred maintenance and improvements, as well as holiday bonuses for our beloved Hillcrest staff. 

You can make a tax-deductible donation via credit card, Paypal, or by dropping a check at Hillcrest. You can also become a Sustaining Family monthly donor through your monthly tuition. Thank you for your consideration.

Fall Festival 2019

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