The Texas summer heat did nothing to melt the enthusiasm of the 175 community members who gathered yesterday at Lena Pope to discuss the future of early childhood in Fort Worth. Bright and early at 7:30 a.m., the energy in the room was palpable.
At the second “Raising of Fort Worth” event on August 6, 2015, an impressive and diverse group of attendees came together to learn about and discuss the current state of education for Fort Worth’s youngest population, children age 0-5. Participants were eager to discuss how impactful early childhood statistics will drive community action to ensure quality development for every child in Fort Worth.
The room included ten tables of participants divided by sector, including civic, philanthropic, business, faith, health, and education.
The 1.5-hour agenda included:
- A recap of the May 14th Raising of Fort Worth event by Todd Landry of Lena Pope
- Welcome and introduction by Cheraya Arthur, Community Liaison for Mayor Betsy Price
- Preview of The Miles Foundation’s 5-minute video, “Strong Beginnings for a Brighter Future”
- Educational Alignment for Young Children (EAYC) update by Kara Waddell of Child Care Associates
- Local home visiting efforts overview by Julie Miers of Parents as Teachers
- 84th legislative session recap by Pat Cheong of United Way of Tarrant County
- Conclusion and wrap-up by Sadie Funk of First3Years
Breakout discussions were interspersed with the presentations so that attendees could share and record their thoughts on actionable steps for their sector to help promote the healthy development of young children in Fort Worth. Some notable comments and statistics included:
- “We need to inform the business community about the benefits of investing in quality early childhood education.” TWEET THIS: Up to $16 is returned from every $1 invested in quality early childhood programs. #RaisingofFortWorth #earlyed #ROI http://bit.ly/1Mfak15
- “We need to recruit, train, and reward educators responsible for the learning of our youngest children.” TWEET THIS: 85% of brain structure formed by age 3, but only 7% of local child care programs are quality #RaisingofFortWorth #ece http://bit.ly/1MVV5sQ
- “Elected officials, philanthropists, business leaders, parents, faith-based groups, and media should be at the table for this conversation.” TWEET THIS: Cross-sector collaboration is key to ensuring a quality early education for every child. #RaisingofFortWorth #earlyed http://bit.ly/1Mfak15
Before the next Raising of Fort Worth event on November 18, 2015, the planning committee intends to share other insights from the August 6th session, and assign “pre-work” to the various sectors so that an early childhood action plan can be formalized during the November meeting. REGISTER NOW for the November 18th breakfast.
If you’d like to get involved, we encourage you to:
- Download the key takeaway sheet from our August 6th Raising of Fort Worth event, and pass it along to three people you think would benefit from hearing that information.
- Share the “Strong Beginnings for a Brighter Future” video with your colleagues and friends.
- Sign up to receive communications on the next Raising of Fort Worth event and other local early childhood news.
A sincere thank you to all of our partners who made this event a success, including First3Years, Community Foundation of North Texas, United Way of Tarrant County, Camp Fire First Texas, Educational Alignment for Young Children (EAYC), Child Care Associates, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, The Parenting Center, and Lena Pope.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please email Sara Redington at firstname.lastname@example.org.