Month of the Young Child, Part II

In last week's blog, I told you a little about Rochester observing April as the Month of the Young Child. While New York Association for the Education of the Young Child (NYAEYC) observes April 13-19 as the Week of the Young Child, the Rochester chapter chooses to observe the entire month. This is not only great for children in the Rochester area, but for their parents and families as well.

As part of the Rochester Association for the Education of Young Children's (RAEYC) kick-off event for the Month of the Young Child, last Tuesday I attended an wonderful event at the Cornell Cooperative Extension. I was a bit nervous prior to the event because I spoke on a panel with 2 other experts, Dr. Stephen Munson and Natasha Chen-Christiansen, about the role of media in families and the effects (both positive and negative) that media can have on children. The panel was well received and we engaged in some very thoughtful, meaningful discussions with attendees. But for me, the highlight of the evening came down to 1 person: Julie Guttman.

"Who is Julie Guttman?" you might ask? Honored at last week's event for a lifetime of service for young children, Julie Guttman has worked for over 40 years with the Rochester Preschool Parent Program (RPPP). I had had the pleasure of meeting Julie on the Rochester Children's Zone Early Development and Care of Children Committee and was immediately impressed with her knowledge and commitment to young children. Little did I know that she had been working in the community for years to ensure that young children were given the best possible start in life and in school.

"To support positive development of children birth to age 8" is the mission statement for RAEYC and to say that Julie Guttman personifies and epitomizes this is an mega understatement. What I walked away with at the end of last week's celebration, was that 1 person- 1 woman- has the power to affect and positively change the lives of thousands of people with the passion she feels for a cause- in Julie's case, RPPP.

I hope that when I'm 86, I can look back and have a quarter of the accomplishments that Julie Guttman can claim. And don't think that she's done- her work with RPPP, the Rochester Children's Zone and her community continues every day. Think what our community could be like with a few more Julie Guttman's and then stop to think: what can you do to make the world better for young children in our community?