Michele Vallieres’ career in early childhood has spanned more than 35 years. Michele first volunteered at her college’s child care facility where she built her connection to this field. She moved to Calgary at 21 to learn English and worked as a cook in a childcare facility for a couple years. Michele then pursued her training through correspondence.

Michele feels fortunate to have worked for the City of Calgary Childcare Program for the following ten years; first as a child care worker, then assistant director! She took part of many exciting developments, training opportunities, and worked along- side many creative educators. Michele worked with a team of professionals and received valuable training and coaching that built a solid foundation.

In 1988 Michele and her family moved to Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. Michele was instrumental in the development of Assiniboia Family and Child Care Services Inc. (ACCS) in 1990, where she has been the director for near 25 years. Michele, together with the board and outstanding staff, has recently completed major renovations to reflect the visions and principles of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education document “Play and Exploration: Early Learning and Program Guide”.

Michele fosters a team approach and feels that ACCS has a clear vision for high quality program for the families. Michele has been an active member of “Kid’s First” committee and was involved in implementing a couple successful programs for the community.

Michele believes in strong community connections and together with her staff, board and children have promoted the philosophy that “children are competent and capable” through their partnership with the local Shurniak Gallery. The gallery shows the children’s art followed by an art auction. ACCS also donates art pieces to major community fundraisers.

I had the pleasure to witness Michele’s energy as she and her staff worked together to provide the best possible program for the children enrolled in ACCS. I admire her passion and strength as she advocates for young children, their families and their community. She is most deserving of the Friends of Children Award and meets the criteria in every way.

Respectfully submitted by Beth Warkentin