Event to kickoff "Strong Starts for Children" initiative in greater Albuquerque area
The Family Development Program, in collaboration with Decade of the Child, a statewide early childhood advocacy coalition, and Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc., are hosting a "Celebration of Wonder" on Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Old Town Gazebo from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This innovative family play event for young children and their families will explore how our youngest children see the city. The event is one of four launches taking place across greater Albuquerque as part of the "Strong Starts for Children" initiative. Strong Starts will bring people from all walks of life into dialogues to work together for the success of all children.
The University of New Mexico's Family Development Program in the College of Education has partnered with the Decade of the Child coalition to give leadership to their "Launching a Decade of the Child: Strong Starts for Children" project. Coalition partners will facilitate a series of five civic dialogues throughout September and October at libraries and schools throughout Albuquerque. The conversations will engage people whose voices are not often heard such as teen parents, immigrant families and others from high areas of poverty in Albuquerque to talk and act together to support children's growth and development. A virtual site will also be hosted by KNME for conversations led using social media tools. KUNM youth radio will document the dialogue-to-change initiative.
With the aim of creating a brighter future for young children and families, the UNM Family Development Program, in collaboration with Decade of the Child, will work this fall to bring people together to talk about what to do to make their communities better for young children. People will be mobilized to bring about success on issues such as school readiness, health, access for families to development and job training, financial literacy, educational opportunities, and more. Action forums and a policy day are planned for later in the year. Additionally, a New Mexico proclamation from the Governor's office declaring 2010 – 2020, the Decade of the Child, will be read at the Aug. 28 kick-off event.
"We have an extraordinary opportunity, especially during these very harsh economic times, to make sure that public decisions are made that keep young children and their families in mind," said Lois Vermilya, director, Family Development Program.
The organizations participating in Strong Starts for Children and project launch events are as follows:
• Youth Development, Inc., on behalf of the Pajarito Mesa Strong Starts for Children, is hosting a launch event on Saturday, Aug. 7 on the Pajarito Mesa.
• Cuidando los Niños, on behalf of the New Mexico Campaign to End Child Homelessness, is hosting a launch event on Saturday, Aug. 21 at Explora.
• Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc., on behalf of the All Indian Pueblo Council, and Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc., are hosting a joint launch event on Friday, Aug. 27 at Santa Ana Pueblo.
• University of New Mexico Family Development Program (in collaboration with Decade of the Child, a statewide early childhood advocacy coalition) and Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc., are hosting a joint launch event for their individual Strong Starts projects on Saturday, Aug. 28 at the Old Town Gazebo.
Everyday Democracy, a national nonprofit organization, is leading the Strong Starts for Children initiative. The organization will work closely with UNM and the rest of the groups over the next year to help them find ways for all kinds of people in their communities to talk, work and take action together on early childhood development issues.
Everyday Democracy's work in the Albuquerque area is part of the Our Voices, Our Children New Mexico-based initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. With the Kellogg Foundation's generous support, Everyday Democracy has provided funding, coaching, and training for five groups.
For more information on Everyday Democracy and Strong Starts for Children visit: Everyday Democracy.
Media contact: Steve Carr (505) 277-1821; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org