Spreading the Word

For about a decade, we have worked with our community to spread the word about how the first three years of life influence children’s chances for later achievement and success.

It’s hard to think of a message that is more crucial to the future of Memphis and Shelby County.

That’s because if we invest in the pivotal first three years of children’s lives, everything about our community gets better – the economy grows, poverty and crime decline, children’s academic performance improves, and everyone’s quality of life can benefit.

With your help, we have promoted awareness of the importance of the early years. We’ve shared information and data, invited national experts to present their research, and provided parents and caregivers with tips on how to make the most of this crucial period of development. Your collaboration has been essential: through social media, public discourse, and informal conversations, you’ve helped us reach a sizeable portion of the community.

The First Years Last a Lifetime

Our latest effort has produced a short promotional video that sums up our core message and invites viewers to see resources on our website. We ask you to help us again as we try to ensure that The First Years Last a Lifetime reaches a large audience.

You can help us increase its impact by posting the 30-second clip to Facebook and emailing and tweeting it to your friends. We’re sure that when you see the video, you will agree that it needs to be seen by as many people as possible.


We thank you – our partner in this campaign for better lives for our children – for providing the megaphone that has amplified our message so effectively. Today, it influences public opinion, early childhood interventions, and day-to-day parenting practices.

Thanks in part to our efforts, it seems that everyone is talking about brain development, school readiness, and social and emotional well-being – in government meetings, corporate board rooms, and casual conversations among parents and caregivers.

But to achieve our goal, we need to strive to ensure that all this talk translates into action. Almost 14,000 babies are born in Shelby County each year. Our challenge, and our opportunity, is to see that each one benefits from the positive early experiences that help a child reach his or her potential.

When our children thrive, we all thrive. It may be impossible to name an aspect of our community that would not be enhanced if every child had a strong foundation for success in school and throughout life.