In early 2013, Catherine & Richard Vanicky purchased Honey Bear from Cathie’s mother, Patricia Russell, who along with Cathie’s father, William, founded the center in 1986. In 1983, her parents purchased the North Avenue property as it had potential for a preschool. And in 1986, by converting and adding onto a 3-car garage, the Russell’s dream was fulfilled as Honey Bear Learning Center opened its classrooms to the first young “Honey Bears”. The Russell’s goal was to provide quality childcare benefiting the child, family and community. They met and exceeded their goal as over 1200 children and families were effectively served from 1986 to 2012. Cathie had worked by her mother’s side as the Assistant Director since 1990.

Under Cathie’s directorship, our new mission statement is rooted in family tradition: To assist young children in developing a love of learning which creates a stable educational foundation for their lifetime. Cathie’s aspiration is to continue the family tradition and she is looking ahead during this exciting time of change in the Connecticut early childhood system to offer even more early learning experiences to our young “Honey Bears”.