When I was a little girl my parents told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be. By the time I entered the third grade, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to become a writer. My Mom says there was a short-lived phase when I would only communicate through writing. My Mom and Dad nurtured my early, yet perplexing interest in words and non-verbal communication....
A few years ago, The Urban Child Institute (UCI) and Neighborhood Christian Centers partnered on a simple concept that would encourage Mid-South families to spend time together in a way that fused science and good old fashioned parenting. What emerged was Touch Talk Read Play (TTRP).
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama said "study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road." He's right. Children who are consistently intellectually stimulated in the first three years of their lives enjoy better outcomes later in life. Typically, they do better in school and enter higher paying careers.
Most of us have heard that the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased dramatically. The rate has tripled in the past 30 years. The consequences of obesity are grim for children and adults, including health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Obesity is also associated with psychosocial difficulties like bullying, discrimination, anxiety and depression.
One of the leading child advocacy organizations in Shelby County and one of the oldest locally-owned radio stations in the Mid-South are joining forces to take their messages to the streets, literally. The Urban Child Institute recently formed a new partnership with WLOK to increase awareness for best practices to promote optimal brain development in young children from birth to age three.
Often when we're facing an enormous challenge or working to overcome an obstacle, the first words of advice offered are to take baby steps. It's good advice: breaking down a seemingly insurmountable task into smaller pieces makes it easier to complete and moves us closer to accomplishing our goal. In Memphis, new, big, bold initiatives to cross major hurdles and heal our community's wounds - poverty, unemployment and undereducation – are taking shape every day.