Today’s leaders are working to make Memphis and Shelby County better for business, better for tourism, better for healthcare, and better for higher education. But tomorrow’s leaders are today’s children, so we must also make our community a better place for childhood.

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Chamber of Commerce executives across the country spend their days praising the virtues of their cities in hopes of recruiting new businesses and creating new jobs. Greater Memphis Chamber President Phil Trenary is no different, but when he talks about the long-term success of his community, his conversation often turns to the importance of early childhood social and emotional development.

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It can be easy to idealize the early years of childhood, and use our own favorite memories to define what that period means. Recess, a favorite teacher, summer vacation, family holidays. Happiness without a care in the world. But what if instead of building you up, your early years had held you back?

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As a parent, it’s natural to want to do anything within your power to meet and protect your child’s best interests. You want him to grow up and become the best person he can be, to experience a happy and fulfilling life, and to know that you are his number one cheerleader and advocate. By investing in your child’s individual success you also make an investment in the future of Memphis - by helping to create the type of community that your children and future generations can thrive in.

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