Milwaukee BCDI chapter announces membership award and new officers

Written by admin   // November 11, 2010   // 0 Comments

by Taki S. Raton

The Milwaukee affiliate of the national Black Child Development Institute (BCDI) for the first time in its 15-year history was presented the award for the “Largest Affiliate Membership.”

This distinction was presented at the 40th Annual Conference for the national Black Child Development Institute last August in Anaheim, California.

Area membership grew from 30 to a now recorded 180 members according to BCDI out-going president, Wanda Montgomery.

In an E-stream message to her Milwaukee chapter, Montgomery said that “ìt is because of each of you that we received this honor. Applaud yourself and thank you again for your commitment to Black children and families in the Milwaukee community.”

The Milwaukee affiliate recognition arrives on the heels of two significant events, the most recent being the recently held 13th Annual Meeting and this Thursday’s, November 11, BCDI sponsored Fourth Annual Excellence in Community Service Banquet at the Italian Conference Center, located on Chicago Avenue in the Third Ward.

The October 30 agenda included a review of the 2010 accomplishments and the seating of newly appointed and elected officials.

Held at the Milwaukee Early Learning Center, 125 West Auer Ave., this annual meeting cited the May 22 “Entering the College Zone” (ETCZ) with 51 students and 41 parents participating at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Montgomery spearheaded the Entering the College Zone event for over a six-years. ETCZ has become one of BCDI’s programming jewel– for both local and national affiliates– to help children to have a vision of attending college.

The October 30th meeting also reported, among its many highlights, BCDI’s annual Health & Fitness Fair for Kids on June 5 at the Frances Starms Discovery Learning Center, and the August 7 Love to Read Initiative at the Martin Luther King Community Center’s 15th Annual Back to School Festival.

The Milwaukee BCDI Chapter has additionally been selected as one of three sites to implement a project at a to-be-selected local childcare center for children and their families focusing on diet and exercise. This area affiliate will provide training and serve as the catalyst for the creation of an expanded curriculum for use by similar programs throughout Milwaukee and around the country where other BCDI chapters are located.

Philadelphia and Greensboro are the other two cities chosen for this project.  Local partners for this initiative include Next Door Foundation, Roundy’s, Strictly Fitness, and Local Chef.

Montgomery has been an active member of the National Black Child Development Institute for over 15 years. She is a founding and charter member of the Black Child Development Institute-Milwaukee affiliate since its 1995 inception.

She has served as a member of the Board of Directors, as president, vice-president and program chair. In January of this year, Montgomery was elected to the National Black Child Development Institute’s Board of Directors.

In 2007, Montgomery organized the First BCDI Milwaukee Affiliate Annual Recognition Dinner. This affair recognized African Americans in the community who have been instrumental in cultivating and advancing the lives of Black children. The event was also successful in fundraising, generating $25,000 for program enhancement.

Also at the October 30 annual meeting, BCDI’s vice-chair, in accordance to chapter by-laws, was officially seated to assume the duties of president. As director of curriculum and instruction for Milwaukee Public Schools, BCDI Milwaukee Chapter head Ann Terrell has over 30 years experience in the field of early childhood education. She has served as adjunct faculty for Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and is widely acclaimed as an educational workshop presenter locally, regionally and nationally.

She holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University; a Master of Science degree in Cultural Foundations of Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education also from UWM.

Terrell received the 2008 Black Women’s Network Legacy of Leadership in Education Award, the 2007 National Black Child Development Institute-Milwaukee Affiliate Early Childhood Recognition Award, and the 2004 Community Brainstorming Conference Children’s Advocacy Award.

She was appointed chair of Governor Jim Doyle’s 2004 Quality Counts Early Childhood Task Force and selected as a 2000 Children Defense Funds Early Childhood Leadership Fellow.

Following a unanimous consensus vote, Dr. Chrishirella F. Warthen was selected as BCDI’s Milwaukee Chapter Vice-Chair.  Described as a “commendable” urban educator who has devoted over 17 years of exemplary service in education as a leader, teacher, youth/adult mentor and tutor, Dr. Warthen is an Assistant Professor of Education and SOAR Coordinator (Student Outreach, Access and Resources) at Wisconsin’s Concordia University.

She additionally served as the former Madison Site Director for the university’s Teacher Certification program.  Dr. Warthen instructs students at the undergraduate, adult education and graduate levels in Urban Education and in Early Childhood Education.

Prior to her tenure at Concordia, she was a University Pre-College Program Director serving K-12 students and families, a certified teacher and licensed administrator in the Milwaukee Public Schools and in the State of Georgia school systems.

Dr. Warthen has received awards and recognitions for her commendable contributions to the field of Education and community service. Acknowledgements include: “Appreciation for Outstanding Contributions of Wisdom and Encouragement” from the SISTAS Organization of Kenosha Unified School District; the first Black female conferred with a Ph.D. from Cardinal Stritch University, and a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar Recipient.

Her commitment to Education and advocacy for children is evident in her research interests focus on Black education, urban Educational issues regarding women and girls of African descent, and in the instructional arenas of Teacher Education/Development and Multicultural Education.

Treasurer-elect Adrienne Hunter is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Servant Manner, Inc., a premier social service agency responsible for providing specialized treatment for adolescent males and females in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Servant Manner also provides supervised independent living for young adults aging out of foster care.

Hunter became a member of BCDI Milwaukee in the fall of 2009 and was soon thereafter elected to the Board of Directors. She has served as a mentor and business consultant to aspiring entrepreneurs and currently is also Board President of the African American Alliance for Children and Families of Wisconsin. She is an alumnus of Marquette University where she received her B.S. degree and her MSW from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.

A proud wife and mother of four children, Hunter says she’s “humbled by the nomination and this election to the office of BCDI treasurer and take pride in having the financial responsibility and oversight of such a well respected organization.”

Tammy L. Saffold has been a devoted contributive member of the BCDI Milwaukee affiliate board of Directors for over 13 years and has served as the organization’s secretary for the past five years. She is the new Director for Heartlove Place Childcare Program in the city of Milwaukee and was chair for BCDI’s “Love to Read” campaign focusing on early literacy for children.

The “Love to Read” initiative was held August 7 at the Martin Luther King Center. The BCDI was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the MLK Community Center as a “Bronze Sponsor” of the “Love to Read” campaign.

Over 30 volunteers were on hand throughout the day to distribute over 4,000 books collected for free distribution to children and youth. Partners for this event included Next Door Foundation, Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, Gray’s Child Development Center, Inc., Salvation Army of Greater Milwaukee, Half-Price Books, Kohl’s Department Store, and Children’s Hospital/Medical College of Wisconsin (Reach Out and Read Program).

“As the former director for Gray’s Child Development center, my passion for families and children was nurtured for nearly 25 years,” said Saffold.

“Our children deserve the very best that we can give them and I am extremely proud to serve in the capacity of BCDI secretary and continue to assist in the implementation of affiliate activities which provide  the highest ideals of program delivery to our community,” she said.

Individuals interested in becoming a member of the Milwaukee affiliate of the Black Child Development Institute should call (262) 434-0699 or go to their website at

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