The Young Children-Priority One Committee (YCPO) has been involved in key areas of young children's well-being and development, e.g. Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and the Emergent Literacy Video projects. Bringing about cultural changes requires work on awareness and conscience before imagination and will. It also takes time.
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)
We will soon be completing 2 years since we released the SBS educational video. The Kiwanis office has distributed and sold over 4,000 videos, predominately in Canada and the USA. The video is watched in a group setting e.g. prenatal classes, parent groups, high schools, closed circuit televisions in maternity wards, etc.
Discussion on the subject is encouraged between the viewers to create more awareness and communication. Kiwanis continues to make the difference locally by holding several public presentations on SBS and held 3 workshops this year to train specialized groups such as the Children's Aid Society.
Emergent Literacy Video
This is our club's millennium project with the video scheduled to be released this September, coinciding with the Literacy Week. The project could not have been conceived with-out the rich experiences gained with the RIF program at Connaught School and SBS. Funding received or committed to amounts to a phenomenal $150,000 to date for the video production and communications. There is considerable support from agencies dealing with literacy and children's issues.
Our Mission Statement for this campaign is: "To inform and encourage families and caregivers of preschool children in stimulating preschool minds for success inschool and life." You cannot succeed if you cannot read. Communicating or reading to a very young child (0-3) holds the highest potential to build a child's brain.
These facts are backed up by research conducted since 1994. Recent reports from Statistics Canada concluded that 'reading to children has substantial positive impact on their academic skills'. Children who do not read have a bigger chance of dropping out of school and often society when they are older. Investing in children is the economic survival kit for Canada.
We have a huge challenge ahead of us in creating awareness and support to young parents and public in the implications of brain research. Let us work collectively at the roots and not the leaves.
Sam Bhargava Chair of Young Children-Priority One Committee