Recap: June Member Meeting

Dear Members,

Thank you for joining Pomona Society as we kicked off our 2018 Policy Spotlight Series with a panel discussion on the effect of trauma on early childhood development. The challenges that children face during childhood is an area of unique passion for us as we both faced obstacles during the early years of our lives.

The difficulties that a child faces from 0 to 5 years will change them forever. It impacts their neurological, physio-social, and even physical development. Dr. Venza, Executive Director of The Lourie Center, shared that in many cases, the consequences of these early years will predetermine a child’s propensity for challenges or success through young adulthood. And yet, during these critical years of child’s life, is when parents and families often receive the least amount of support.

It is during the first years of a child’s life that a parent is adjusting to the responsibilities of their new role. In vulnerable communities, this transition often happens without the support of a co-parent, intensified by economic and emotional strains, and exacerbated by insufficient paid leave, transportation challenges, or perhaps multiple children who demand various levels of attention. Singularly, these challenges are difficult. However, when combined, being able to identify, place, support, and underwrite a high quality early childhood experience for each child in a family can be nearly impossible.  

Dr. Nicole Baker Fulgham shared that although there is certainly a need to advocate for adequate resources for early childhood programs at a local and state level, throwing money at the program isn’t sufficient. Often a gap lies in the quality of the programs that are accessible to vulnerable communities, making it necessary to also advocate for high quality curricular standards for early childhood programs as well.

A key part of ensuring that all children are receiving high quality early childhood experiences is addressing the workforce of early childhood teachers who often come from and experience similar challenges to the children they serve. Due to the stigma, lack of access to educational pathways, and low wages associated with these positions, early childhood teachers are often encountering exhaustion, burnout, and trauma that is never fully addressed.

Pyper Davis, Executive Director of Educare D.C., shared that the Educare has tackled this workforce development issue head on through their unique model which offers higher compensation, promotion pathways through on-the-job coaching, and personal staff development programs to provide teachers with community and emotional support. These low-cost, high-impact interventions are best practice models that are transforming the field of early childhood.

And yet, there’s much left to be done in order to address the holistic interventions that will ensure that all children receive a high quality early childhood education in Washington, D.C.

We are challenging our members to take an active role in the issues that we’re highlighting.

Your engagement in our community is critical to discovering solutions for lifting families out of poverty and we thank you for that!!  

Mark your calendars for the next Pomona Society meeting on Wednesday, September 12th at 6:00pm for a special event with The Clifton Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Strengths Lab where we will partner with the Gallup team to offer a special StrengthsFinder program to our members focused on how you’re hardwired for entrepreneurship and how this positions you for social impact.

With gratitude,

Karen & Abby

Abigail Skeans