by Airman 1st Class Kyla Gifford
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
5/6/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The
RAF Mildenhall Child Development Center was awarded Air Force's best
Child Development Program of the Year 2014. Competing against 84 other
CDCs across the Air Force was no small challenge, and it took an above
and beyond effort of the whole team.
"It's a lot of hard work, a full team effort. What we get rated against
is all about the team and having great base support," said Janet Evans,
CDC director from Manchester, N.H. "Many of the things we were
recognized for involved our leadership backing us. It's the program,
yes, but it's also the support of people from the top, down."
The RAF Mildenhall CDC serves over 250 families and about 400 children
throughout the year. Staying on top of this evolving environment takes
constant work and dedication.
"It's learning how to get creative real quick, and that's what we do," said Evans. "No job is beneath anybody."
Everyone is motivated to be part of the team. The CDC staff is more like
a family than co-workers; all of the decisions are made together.
"We come together and we try to think outside the box. What can we do
differently? What can we do better? What can we offer up? Getting
information from all of our staff and our parents," Evans said.
The family style atmosphere and innovative mindset, coupled with the
dedicated and passionate leadership allows the staff to focus on its top
priority on the needs of the families and children.
"It's just basically doing the job, but then doing more than the job as
well" said Nick Batey, CDC assistant director from Brandon, U.K.
One program that goes above and beyond is the CDCs newest project, the
Inclusion Action Program. This program focuses on children with special
needs, and working on what care each child needs from the very
beginning. It is based on positive communication between the CDC staff,
parents and pediatrician to determine how to provide a more comfortable
environment for their child.
"It's been a really impressive success," said Batey. "It's just nice to
know that when the family leaves we've done something for both the child
and the parent. Watching them grow and develop in the program is
Other programs offered by the CDC are: the Pre-Kindy program, Month of
the Military Child events, job shadow days and quarterly parent
workshops. All of these programs are dedicated to making the best
environment possible for the children.
The RAF Mildenhall CDC will also host a U.K. conference in September.
This gives families and staff from around the U.K. and Europe the
opportunity to interact with helping agencies and attend classes.
Classes that will be offered include toddler potty training, working
with children with challenging behaviors and professional development
classes for entry level teachers. The conference will also allow the
opportunity for the CDC staff to grow in their leadership skills and
education within childcare.
"We have to have the space to meet the needs of the community, make it
affordable for everybody and make sure we are licensed and accredited,"
explains Evans. "But most importantly we ask ourselves every day: what
did you do to go above and beyond for the families and the base? These
are the reasons our program is successful; the families always come