Raising of America - Kansas City
Raising of America
Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation
“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” - Marian Wright Edelman
We believe that every child is valuable and a gift from God, and therefore deserves an opportunity for a healthy start. We seek early development opportunities that pave the way for a brighter future for every child.
The future of our nation exists in the hearts and minds of our children. Today, American children are ranked 26th in overall health and well-being when compared to nearly 30 developed countries. Development begins incredibly early and by age two, a child’s brain has more connections than there are stars in the galaxy. Early experiences can either strengthen those connections or cause them to wither away. We know these experiences have a long term impact and ultimately determine the fate of our nation.
American productivity has increased over the past thirty years despite a lack of increase in wages. Middle class wages have remained flat and the minimum wage value has fallen while the cost of medical care, education, and housing has more than doubled. Parents are increasingly squeezed for time, money, and resources. Issues such as these place tremendous stressors on parents and these stressors have a direct biological impact on their children.
The Raising of America Kansas City (ROAKC) coalition is focused on bringing awareness to these concerns. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity of a healthy and productive future. We endeavor to change the public discourse about what we as a society can and should do to ensure every child has an opportunity to thrive. We are guided by the principle that an investment in the education and development of children is an investment in the social and economic future of our community.
ROAKC will launch a regional campaign aimed at building public support and political will for investing in early childhood education through policy at local, regional, and state levels. The campaign has three components:
· A campaign kickoff in February 2015 featuring a screening of The Raising of America, an ambitious documentary film series that illustrates how a strong start for all children leads not only to better individual life course outcomes but also to a healthier and more prosperous nation. A panel discussion will follow the screening event. Click here to register!
· Engagement and mobilization of stakeholders who support a policy agenda that invests in early
childhood education, including members of the business, civic, faith, education, and health communities. Ongoing engagement will be facilitated by smaller screenings of the Raising of America film series, public endorsements of policy agendas, and community-led conversations with decision-makers and elected officials.
· Direct engagement with elected officials and key decision makers to build relationships with community members and garner political support for local or state policies that invest in early education and other strategies that support working families.
ROAKC Campaign Goals:
1. Establish a collaborative network of individuals and organizations in Greater Kansas city who are supportive of the ROAKC mission
2. Support that network by developing tools that facilitate conversation about early education and child development in various communities
3. Create opportunities for the network to advocate for policy and systems change that align with our desire to invest in early education and child development
ROAKC is a collaborative stakeholder-led initiative with members of the following organizations: City of Kansas City, MO Health Department, Unified Government of Wyandotte County Health Department, City of Independence Health Department, Jackson County Health Department, Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO), Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equality (MORE2), and the Kansas City Health Commission.