May 28, 2021

ECEAP Parent Spotlight – Karmen

Spokane ECEAP Parent Wins Unsung Hero Award

This award honors outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children.

Each February, the Seattle’s Child magazine partners with the Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families to award 28 Washington caregivers with the Unsung Hero Award. This year, a local Spokane parent, Karmen, won the award!

Read Karmen’s Nomination

This nomination was written by YWCA Spokane ECEAP Lead Teacher Taylor Elder:

Karmen has gone above and beyond to be a parent to three children who are not biologically hers. She has three children of her own, and still made the decision to adopt her 4-year-old who is diagnosed with ADHD, as well as fostering a pair of 2- and 4-year-old siblings in a very difficult season of life. Without Karmen and her husband, these children wouldn’t be with the loving mom they are with today, and early intervention may not have ever happened. I am truly grateful for what she does for our community and not just her birthed children, but children that needed her desperately.

View more Unsung Heroes

Read Karmen’s Story

Introduce yourself! Tell a little bit of your story.

Hello. I am Karmen. I have 6 amazing children. 3 biological, 1 adopted, and 2 foster kiddos. Ages range from 3-24. I also have 1 amazing granddaughter. Life is busy, but it keeps me young. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband so that I can be a stay at home mom.

How did you first get involved with ECEAP?

My first experience with ECEAP was about 17 years ago, when my oldest daughter was 3. She was a social butterfly and ECEAP helped her with academics and make a whole classroom of friends.

Then fast forward to 2019, when our adopted little one was old enough to start ECEAP. I was so excited for him to start this journey. This is his second year in ECEAP and it has helped him grow into a wonderful boy from toddler stage. He has grown in so many ways and I know ECEAP has had a huge part in that. And this year, we also have one of our foster kiddos enrolled. This program is a blessing.

How has ECEAP impacted your life?

ECEAP has impacted our whole family in so many ways. It’s like our family has just grown. The teachers are so supportive and helpful. The kiddos love going to school. ECEAP has been there through some hard times and helped us get referrals for services that are needed. They are so involved with what the kiddos are going through. They are a big part of our “village” in raising the next generation. They help not just the kids, but the whole family.

What skills have you learned or improved while participating in ECEAP?

I’d have to say the biggest skill I have improved on is definitely routine and schedules. This is very important for people, especially children. And taking everything one day at a time. Every day is different in a young child’s world.

What is your most important take-away from your time in ECEAP?

Communication is key. When all caregivers (parents and teachers) are able to keep up with what is going on with the children, then everyone will be on the same page on how to take care of the child better. We are all in this together to make a better future.

What is the easiest or fastest way for parents to advocate for their children?

Speak up. Again, this would be to communicate. The children at this age group are too young to completely say what they need or what they are going through. We, as parents, need to be their voice. But we also need to listen to the children when they are telling us something.

Final thoughts or comments on your ECEAP experience?

Our family absolutely loves the ECEAP program. It has extended our family. I will be sad when I don’t have children young enough for this program. As a parent, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. The teachers are there for the whole family. ECEAP has given our children an early start to their education and social skills that will be used throughout their lives.

“ECEAP has impacted our whole family in so many ways… They are a big part of our “village” in raising the next generation. They help not just the kids, but the whole family.”

– Karmen, YWCA Spokane ECEAP Parent


Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP, pronounced “e-cap”) is Washington’s FREE comprehensive preschool program serving high need 3 and 4-year old children and families at or below 110% of the Federal Poverty Level (for a family of 4 this is no more than $28,325 annually). ECEAP provides kindergarten readiness education, health and nutrition services, family support, advocacy training, and parent education. YWCA ECEAP promotes long-term success with school and life, through trauma- care, brain-researched social-emotional methods and high quality enriching environments and teachers.


By: Lauren Lepinski

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