The meeting was an opportunity for the community to learn more details about the draft plan, to talk with others in the community and to share their feedback on the recommendations and strategies. At the meeting, Mayor Hodges emphasized that without community participation, many of the recommendations just won’t be possible.
“When we rally together as a community, there’s nothing we can’t do,” said Mayor Hodges. “The first opportunity gap a kid faces is during the first three years of life, when 80% of brain development happens. If kids don’t get what they need during those years, we’re leaving some talent on the table - and we can’t accept that. The investment in these early years is an investment in ending our achievement gap. This is critical to our city’s future.”
Close to 100 people attended the meeting at the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center. It was co-hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota, Think Small, and Start Early Funders. The first community meeting was held March 3 at the Children’s Hospital, which co-hosted the event together with Way to Grow and the YWCA of Minneapolis. That event also saw close to 100 people in attendance.
“It’s promising to see how many people in the community want to be engaged in this process,” said Mayor Hodges. “We have been getting great feedback and suggestions, and I thank everyone who took the time to come to one of the meetings or share their thoughts. We need the entire community to be invested in the goal of eliminating disparities before they even exist, so that all people in Minneapolis can succeed and thrive.”
Mayor Hodges was joined by a number of her Cradle to K Cabinet members, including Peggy Flanagan, Denise Mayotte, Melvin Carter, Gretchen Musicant, Scott McConnell, Barb Yates, Maureen Seiwert, Richelle Hart-Peeler, Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, and Frank Forsberg.
The Cabinet has also been accepting feedback since January through an online webform. You can find it and the draft report at the Cradle to K Website. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated into the final report, due out later this spring.
The draft recommendations include systems alignment and increased investments in children in the areas of targeted home visiting; housing for very-low income families; child care assistance and early learning scholarship; and service funding for our most vulnerable children such as homeless children and children with special needs.
Published Mar 5, 2015