In "Data Book 2013: The State of Children in Memphis & Shelby County," The Urban Child Institute explores social and economic conditions affecting optimal brain development for babies ages zero to three, and subsequently outlines critical areas that need improvement. Research findings show that the environment and community in which a child is born and raised contributes greatly to her future well being, while the health and well-being of its children determines a community's future.

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....

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.

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