Each May, the second Sunday is set aside to thank mothers for everything they do for us throughout the year.

      Each May, the second Sunday is set aside to thank mothers for everything they do for us throughout the year.
But few parents are aware that the Friday before Mother's Day has been designated as Provider Appreciation Day, a day to thank those who are "almost Mom."
"Although child care providers don't take the place of parents, they do play a very significant role in children's lives," said Cathy Evans, professional development coordinator for Child Care Aware of Southwest Kansas.
To celebrate Provider Appreciation Day, the Early Childhood Task Force, which is working with Child Care Aware of Southwest Kansas, will host a breakfast for all the childcare providers in the 26 counties the task force represents. The breakfast is designed to thank providers for their hard work throughout the year.
"We will have goodie bags for all the providers as well as door prizes and many other gifts for them," said Evans. "After the breakfast there will be a speaker, Barbara Kaiser, who will talk about challenging behaviors in young children — something that all providers can relate too."
Kaiser's presentation, which is sponsored by Project LAUNCH, will be separate from the breakfast. Any childcare providers who are interested in attending the event can call (620) 275-1510 for more information or to register.
The event will take place May 5 at the Church of the Nazarene in Garden City, 2720 N. Campus Drive.
Most importantly, organizers are trying to raise awareness among parents who use these services that this day exists though posters placed in high-traffic areas throughout the communities they serve.
"While the providers appreciate everything that we do for them, a heartfelt 'thank you' coming directly from the family can mean the world," said Evans.
Child Care Aware suggests many simple ways you can show childcare providers that you appreciate their hard work.
• Have your child make an art project or gift.
• Get together with other parents to buy flowers or a gift certificate to the movies or a nice restaurant in town.
• Include a bonus with your regular payment.
• Simply taking time to give them a heartfelt 'thank you' to them for all they do can also be very meaningful.
Child Care Aware
Child Care Aware of Southwest Kansas was founded in 1993 as a resource for both parents and childcare providers. The organization's primary focus is staying in contact with childcare providers in 26 counties about their availability, so they can pass that information along to parents.
"It is important that we stay in constant communication with the providers, so we know if vacancies have been filled, or if children have left and so there are new vacancies," said Evans.
The organization also hosts professional development events to allow providers to become licensed or renew their license. And the organization offers technical support to the childcare providers on whatever topics they might need.
"We will help with anything from behavioral issues, to relationships with family and even business problems," said Evans.
For more information about Child Care Aware and the programs and services they offer, visit their website at www.ccaswks.org.