The purpose of Heart of Illinois Chapter of ILAEYC is to serve and act on behalf of the needs of young children with primary focus on the provision of educational services and resources. We strive to improve and enrich the quality of care and education of the young child through programs and services, and increase communication among those involved in the care and education of the young child. We provide in-service training for the early childhood community, and take unified action on current issues which affect the young child.


President: Danyle Watkins

Past-President: Kim Hahn

President-Elect: Vacant

Secretary: Kimberly Cary

Treasurer: Kari Clark



Public Policy: Susan Moore

Social Chair: Jan Deissler

Month of the Young Child: Brenda Smith, Kim Hahn

Child Care Connection Liaison: Brenda Smith

Accreditation & Quality Initiatives: Melanie Fleming

Member at Large: Yolanda Wallace, Bridget Joos, Amie Belcher


Address: P.O. Box 10596, Peoria, IL 61612


October 2021

Photos from Events

Heart of Illinois Chapter Children’s Champion Celebration

The Heart of Illinois Chapter of ILAEYC celebrated our local Children’s Champions on June 4, 2019 at Childer’s Banquet Center in Peoria, IL. Current members, past members and other guests were able to socialize, hear words of wisdom from Dr. Judy Harris Helm , President of Best Practices, Inc., celebrate the great work we are doing for the children of our Heart of Illinois communities. Congratulations to all of our recipients:

Dr. Judy Harris Helm – President, Best Practices, Inc.

Amie Belcher – Illinois Central College Children’s Center

Lisa Calzavara – The Salvation Army Child Care Center

Ann Harmon – Caring Hands Day Care Center

Stephanie Schmidt – Caring Hands Day Care Center

Jennifer Gilmore-Hocking – Methodist Family Child Care Center

Rhonda Hillyer – SAL Child Care Connection

Kayla Norrell – Eastside Center

Denise Hufeld – Family Child Care Provider

Larry Evans – Family Child Care Provider

Science Worskhop with Presenter Melissa Green

Melissa Green presented a variety of innovative science activities for participants to take back to their classrooms.

Family Concert with Performer Jeanie B!

Bell Ringing for Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign

President Stacy with her daughter ringing bells for the Salvation Army. The Heart of Illinois Chapter has been doing this for the past several years.

Member at large Kari happily ringing bells on that chilly day.

Past President Melanie passing off the bell to Vice President of Programs Kim.

Past President Melanie and her granddaughter (with friend), taking their shift to ring bells.