RICHMOND - Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond will be honored at the Valentine Richmond History Center 2013 History Makers Awards for its work to raise the public will for early childhood development.
Smart Beginnings is known for its regional kindergarten registration day each spring, helping kids get a strong start at school, but the coalition's scope is far greater than what you see in any classroom.
It's changed the way Richmond thinks about education for children before age 5.
Joan Marable says Smart Beginnings started in the late 1990's when her organization -- the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg -- partnered with the Greater Richmond Chamber Of Commerce with a common goal -- to ensure local children enter school healthy, well-cared for and ready to succeed.
"Everybody has something they can do to improve the lives of children and they may not even realize it," she says.
They knew they couldn't do it alone.
"None of this work would be possible without the hundreds of organizations, childcare providers, the health departments, the teachers the schools that meet in work groups every month and help us reach the goals in our regional plan," says Jacque Hale.
It's led to the creation of positive parenting campaigns, which sent a message to childcare providers that every day has teachable moments and to invest in the community by investing in the youngest members.
"Not just the first five years but their academic outcomes in elementary school, their chance for high school graduation and then on, getting a good job, going to college if they choose to," Hale says.
The History Makers Celebration is October 15 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Valentine Richmond History Center and will feature 8News anchor Amy Lacey as emcee. Tickets are $40 and includes the reception, awards ceremony and parking.
For more information, visit richmondhistorycenter.com
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