Where do we begin? September was an incredibly busy, surprise-filled, productive month.
When we say we “thrived,” we mean we shared our mission to form connections, address challenges, and create high-quality early childcare programs.
When we say we “connected” we mean we forged relationships. But we also connected with an important correlation: early childcare can be linked to economic development. We attended the 2019 Thriving Children conference with the common goal to strengthen this connection, too.
Our keynote speaker, Dr. Helen Raikes, further ignited our spark.
She reaffirmed that early childhood care can be connected to economic development in many ways. Children who receive high-quality early care are more likely to graduate high school, attend college, own homes, earn a higher income, and pay more taxes, said Dr. Raikes.
A big shout out to all of our staff that worked on the planning for the conference AND A HUGE THANKS TO AMY BORNEMEIER AND MARTI BEARD. Amy and Marti worked on pulling together the conference planning with our partnering organizations but also spearheaded the 2nd day’s meeting specifically focused on the 22 communities working together to increase capacity and quality for early care and education in Nebraska.
Other attendees and sponsors included the National League of Cities, the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund.
There were breakout sessions such as “A Conversation with Funders” hosted by Jessie Rasmussen of Buffett Early Childhood Institute, John Levy of William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation, and Mike Findley of Creighton University, “Superpowers of Engagement,” with Dena Beck and K.C. Belitz of Nebraska Community Foundation, “Strategic Messaging,” with Kelly Medwick of Firespring and Michael Medwick of First Five Nebraska, and “Reframe Early Childhood to an Economic Development Topic,” with Elizabeth Everett from First Five Nebraska, and Kelly Wells Gewecke from Nebraska Department of Economic Development .
We’d be remiss if we left out the Chicken Dance, led by Marti Beard. Just imagine: over 400 community leaders flapping away. A good time, to say the least, was had by all.