There's a critical window of opportunity in every child's first three years to make sure she or he has the strongest possible foundation for success. The first thousand days of life are when children are most sensitive to positive and negative influences. Fully 75 percent of brain development occurs during this period. Early experiences help determine the way the brain wires itself and therefore have important and long-lasting consequences. For example, many of the causes of achievement gaps among high school students originate in early childhood and are already present when children begin school.
Children who are healthy and successful socially and emotionally have a greater chance of becoming productive and engaged citizens. In addition to the important benefit to children, making investments in the well-being of the next generation ultimately translates into both benefits to and savings for taxpayers.
On Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, some 130 professionals who devote their lives to very young children and their families came together from across the region for the first annual meeting and professional development conference of the Adirondack Birth to Three Alliance.
It was deeply moving to witness the dedication, intelligence, and creativity of these people, in whom we trust the very future of our communities.
As the executive director of the Alliance, I want to applaud the Alliance members from Clinton, Essex, and Franklin Counties and the Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation who do their utmost to fulfill the promise of today's children to become healthy, contributing members of their communities.
Thanks are also due to the event sponsors, Adirondack Foundation's Adirondack for Kids Fund, Workforce Development Institute, Adirondack Health Institute, and the wonderful volunteers who worked to make this event so successful.