Families living in a 500-block area near downtown Los Angeles have community support available through the Magnolia Place Community Initiative. The effort is meant to support parents in the Los Angeles neighborhoods promote good health, develop preschool readiness, and build economic stability.
Parents who struggle with finding jobs, have trouble getting help from schools, and feel alienated in their communities can find programs that help and provide enjoyment.
One of the lead agencies, Children’s Bureau, sponsored a luncheon and featured economist Rob Grunewald of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota who supports investing in early childhood learning to build long-term economic growth.
One reason is the human brain develops significantly during the first few years of life and giving children an environment to learn will benefit their thinking and overall functioning skills.
Grunewald showed that traumatic childhood experiences can lead to greater risk during the adult years for drug abuse, depression, and heart disease. His figures came from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard.
Data shows that when children enter kindergarten, relative to their peers, is where they will likely stay into their adult years.
“The achievement gap starts young,” said Grunewald. “Dollars invested in human capital will pay off if invested before kindergarten.”
He referred to a study launched in the early 1960s, the High/Scope Study of Perry Preschool where 123 children from low-income families in Ypsilanti, Michigan and tracked them to age 40.
Kids were randomly selected to attend Perry. Results included nearly 70 percent of the children in the program group graduated high school on time compared to less than 50 percent of the students who were not in the program.
Grunewald said the benefit-to-cost ratio was $ 16 to $ 1 which calculates at an annual rate of return of 18 percent. Benefits include lower arrest rates, court costs, and costs to crime victims.
He pointed to other studies showing similar results.
Grunewald said lessons learned include investing in quality facilities and staff while respecting parents as the primary teachers of their children.
He also said business leaders can play a vital role in developing community efforts like the Magnolia Place Community Initiative in Los Angeles which takes a long-term vision.
Children’s Bureau would like communities nationwide to look at the Magnolia Place Initiative to replicate it in other cities that have neighborhoods considered “at risk.”
Read more at www.all4kids.org and the Magnolia Place Community Initiative.
Here’s an idea for businesses that want to help nonprofit organizations in their community: How Businesses can Help Nonprofits.