When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be an NFL linebacker. It was a dream many would describe as wild, but my parents always supported and encouraged me. Jacksonville should be doing the same to help our kids in our city reach for their dreams.
During my campaign, I was advised that it takes 1,000 days to build a brain. This window of time is critical to a healthy and prosperous future. Research has shown that reading regularly with young children stimulates brain development, improves literacy and strengthens parent-child relationships.
Children from language rich families hear 10 times more words than children from underprivileged families. This exposure often results in improved academic performance. One-third of American children start school without adequate language skills to succeed. Additionally, statistics show that children born in low- and moderate- income families face greater obstacles in attaining educational opportunities that contribute to their success.
That’s why we announced that we’re giving the book “What I Can Be From A to Z,” a Happy Birthday card, and a bookmark with information about getting a Library card to every baby born in one of our local hospitals in the next year. The book goes through the alphabet, highlighting a different career with each letter. You’ll find everything from astronaut to veterinarian, and, yes, and even mayor. It encourages our youth to dream big, and parents to read to their children, get involved, and support those dreams.
Our children are Jacksonville’s greatest and most precious resource. We all have a vested interest in their success. Their triumphs are ours. When they succeed, Jacksonville succeeds.
Every child in our city – regardless of where they live or where they go to school – deserves a chance to achieve their dreams. We’re going to give them that chance.
Read the news release from the July 19, 2017 announcement
Learn more about “What I Can Be From A to Z”