News & Events Long time Parkdale/ Hood River, Oregon resident, Laneta Mueller honored

On March 20, 2013 Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC) had the honor and opportunity to recognize a founding member, Laneta “Lennie” Mueller.

In 1966 Mrs. Mueller was concerned about young children being in the fields as their parents worked and was moved by the death, in the field, of a migrant child.  She said “someone should do something about this” and she with some of her friends ‘Did Something.’  She helped establish a volunteer child care center at Parkdale Primary School and worked as a teacher in the program.  Over the next decade and beyond she held various positions including the Director of the Upper Valley Development Center and developed the services to meet the multiple needs of migrant and seasonal farm worker children and grew the program into a comprehensive Head Start service.

The seed Lennie planted in Parkdale in 1966 has grown into Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC), one of the largest early childhood care and education non-profit organizations in Oregon.  She went on to continue her service to the community and in 1999 received the Jim Klahre Award for Distinguished Service to Children and the Soroptimists International Women of Distinction award.  Lennie’s service to her faith, family, and community took a new beginning with her passing on February 6, 2013.

Lennie’s warmth and care touched the lives of many people.  As a tribute to Lennie and the work she has done, OCDC created a scholarship fund through Columbia Gorge Community College.   The Lennie Mueller Early Childhood Care and Education Scholarship has been established to encourage others to follow in Lennie’s footsteps.  Starting this fall, the college will be awarding the scholarship to a deserving student pursing a degree in early childhood education.

At the Appreciation Dinner held on March 20, Lennie’s contributions were noted and the scholarship in her honor was announced.   In addition, her family, husband Richard, Son Jeff and Daughter Ann received the plaque in her honor with the inscription,

  “A Tribute to  Lennie Mueller”

Lennie said, “Somebody has to do something”  and she did.  Lennie planted a childcare and education seed that sprouted and grew into the largest early childhood care and education organization in Oregon, the Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC).  OCDC acknowledges Lennie’s founding leadership and tireless commitment.  Her legacy will live on through the children and families of OCDC.

Donalda Dodson

Executive Director

Oregon Child Development Coalition

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