UCI Wants You! To Lead!

We are often asked “OK, I get it. What do you want me to do?” That’s a very difficult question to answer but let me take a stab at it. We want you to lead. The answer is in the collaborative efforts of all of us. If we all take steps to make simple changes in how we support our children, the total effect will change our community.

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Certainly, one of any mother's least favorite errands to ever run with small children is the trip to the grocery store. If it's not timed right, the result is cranky, fussy, whiny children (and mom) and possibly the glaring stares of other shoppers.

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Current research tells us that the first years of a baby's life are critical for his or her brain development. That research is valuable and those facts are important, but mothers need application. How can a mom create experiences for her own baby that will encourage his cognitive development?

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There is a persistent and ever widening divide in our country between those who have plenty and those who suffer poverty. Nowhere are the effects of that divide more harmful, and often irreversible, than in the lives of the children born into poverty. It is in the experiences of those early years, from conception through age three, when the brain develops to 80 percent of its capacity, that a course for long-term well-being is set.

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A new study by Harvard and University of California Berkley found children in Memphis who are born into poverty are more likely to stay poor because the city is the most economically segregated in the nation, meaning poor neighborhoods are clustered together and more wealthy neighborhoods are off on their own.

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