Early childhood – from birth to age 8 – is the most critical time of growth and learning in a child’s life. Yet it seems more of the world’s focus is on helping children learn after they enter the classroom. That’s why it was great to see two major events this week highlighting the benefits of early childhood development and education.
One of the most important things organizations like Save the Children have to do is to build coalitions of partners who share our interests in making life better for children. One of the key events of UN week was a star-studded event on Tuesday night, hosted by Ray Chambers, Special Envoy to Ban-KI Moon, which highlighted the health Millennium Development Goals. There is lots of hard work that has to happen to make the goals by 2015.
I just got off the phone with my Congressman’s office. You see, Congress is in the midst of deciding spending levels for 2012, and I wanted to make sure my voice was heard. Some members of Congress want to cut foreign assistance programs by as much as 30 percent, which would have devastating consequences for children and families around the globe. I couldn’t stand by and watch that happen.
The UN General Assembly met this week in New York and there were dozens of side events such as the Clinton Global Initiative. Save the Children focused on advocating for more frontline health workers who will help improve the lives of women and children around the world. In this post Carolyn writes about her experience.
It was a pretty crazy way to start my third week as Save the Children’s new President & CEO! To give you a sense of it all, I’ll retrace my steps back to Sunday…
Our thank you Athene and DC Entertainment for their support of our Horn of Africa hunger crisis relief efforts.
Visit to Dadaab, Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp to survey our relief efforts.
Lane Hartill, Director of Media and Communications
September 16, 2011
Six months after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Save the Children is still working with thousands of children on the ground in the disaster areas. As the crisis moves from an emergency into the recovery and development phase, Save the Children has created a 5-year plan to help children and communities create an environment where children can thrive.
To find out more about our work in Japan—and our long term plans—please listen to the podcast below featuring Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles and the Chief Operating Officer of Save the Children in Japan, Eiichi Sadamatsu.
For more information, check out photos of our work and the full report:
Cambridge, MA – I have been thinking a lot about leadership over the past few weeks as I begin my role as the CEO of Save the Children. Yesterday I spoke at the Hauser Center at Harvard to a group of students who came from several different schools around campus. The discussion was about leading in times of change and crisis and especially about being a brand new leader in these turbulent times.
Today here in CT where I live dawned much like that morning 10 years ago which really did change all our lives forever. A clear blue sky, a crispness of fall in the morning air, a day you were happy to get up and get going.
Unlike today, a Sunday, that September 11 ten years ago was a work day and I headed to Save the Children’s offices in Westport, CT after dropping various of my kids at the bus and school. For some reason, I did not have the radio on as was my usual habit, so I had no idea of the tragedy that was unfolding. One of my colleagues said to me rather off-handedly as I was coming into the building that a plane had run into the World Trade Center tower. I imagined a little plane and maybe a “dent” in the building, never imagining the horrendous events that would unfold.
September 9, 2011
On September 11, 2001, Donna Fowler was running her own in-home daycare in a suburb of Washington, D.C. In her care were eight children, several of whom had parents working at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. While children were playing, Donna answered the persistent ringing of her phone.
“Turn on the TV,” her friend gasped.
And like millions of Americans, Donna watched as the second plane hit the World Trade Center.
She turned off the TV quickly, put on a composed face for the children, and turned the radio on in the background so she could keep tabs on the situation without alarming the kids.
And then a plane struck the Pentagon. Close to home and where one parent worked.
“I thought, oh my god, I have these eight little people in my care and what am I going to do with them if their parents don’t come back today?” Donna remembers. “I had absolutely no plans in place. They were talking about evacuation and I thought, ‘Where do I go? How would parents know where I was going?’ The feeling inside was of total dread not knowing if parents were going to come back and what I would do if they did not.”
The thing is, if you’d asked Donna the day before 9/11, she would have told you she thought she was prepared for an emergency.
“I knew that I had emergency numbers for children and I knew where their parents worked. I felt very comfortable up until that point,” she recalls. Then, reflecting on the irony, “I didn’t realize how unprepared I really was; how prepared I should have been.”
Not only did Donna not have an adequate plan, but across the country, states didn’t require the plans in the first place. Today, those very requirements are outlined in Save the Children’s just-released fourth annual National Report Card on Protecting Children During Disasters.
In it, we look at all 50 states and the District of Columbia to see what states have adopted four very basic standards of preparedness for kids in child care and schools—basics like evacuation and relocation plans, or plans to reunite kids with their families. Today, only 17 states meet all four requirements.
You can read about the standards here, check out how your state stacks up, and download our “School & Child Care Check List” that you can take to your kid’s caregivers or school administrators and ask, “Do you have a plan?”
As for Donna, her life changed on 9/11. After the children were reunited with their families (the father who was supposed to be at the Pentagon forgot some papers at his house and was late to work; it took the mother on Capitol Hill 20 hours to get back to her daughter) Donna swore to herself that she would never let another child care worker feel the way she felt that day.
She became a staunch advocate for disaster preparedness for child care facilities, testifying before the Maryland legislature on behalf of Save the Children to get our standards passed. Today she is the Vice President of the National Association for Family Child Care, pushing for Maryland to go even further in its readiness to keep kids safe during disasters.
More than 67 million children spend approximately 2,000 hours in schools and child care every year. Let’s work together, with people like Donna and you, to make sure more states get an A+ next year.