Book Babies Expands to Winston-Salem, Welcoming Forsyth County Newborns!

Back row, l-r: Book Babies @ Imprints Cares Home Visitor Hadera Lowrance; Book Harvest Executive Director Ginger Young; former Imprints Cares Executive Director Nikki Byers; new Imprints Cares Executive Director Claudia Barrett; Book Babies @ Imprints Cares Luncheon Hosts Wendy Brenner and Lynn Segal. Front row, l-r: Master of Ceremonies and Luncheon Host Anna Reilly; Book Babies @ Imprints Cares Team Leader Erika Stewart.

 

By Ginger Young, Founder and Executive Director

October 5, 2018

Yesterday was a joyous day for Book Harvest.

Yesterday, we gathered over lunch with more than 120 early literacy allies in our unofficial sister city of Winston-Salem to celebrate the launch of Book Babies @ Imprints Cares, bringing the unique home visiting literacy program that we launched here in Durham in 2013 to families of Forsyth County newborns.

And it was an especially joyous day for me personally. Yesterday marked the culmination of more than two and a half years of spirited conversations and shared dreams with dear friends and trusted colleagues in Forsyth County.

The road to get to this launch was long but completely worth it. We are proud and honored to be working alongside the exceptionally talented team at Imprints Cares to expand opportunities for their very young children to thrive. We believe this program will make a real and lasting difference for children and families in Winston-Salem; further, we believe that the evaluation of this program in both Durham and Forsyth Counties, which is being conducted by Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy, will contribute to a larger understanding of what it takes to ensure that every child can start school ready to learn.

Further, it was thrilling to me to witness another instance in which we are, collectively, embracing the vital and urgent importance of doing our very best work to nurture brain development starting at birth. The early years are breathtaking in their potency: every second, a million new neural connections are formed; and fully 80% of brain development happens in the first three years. As the Harvard Center for the Developing Child reminds us, “Getting things right the first time is easier and more effective than trying to fix them later.”

I have seen firsthand the power of Book Babies here in Durham, and it is nothing short of stunning – with curious, lively young children and engaged, powerful parents. The result? Our children ARE ready for school.

Together, we in Durham and Forsyth Counties will be charting a course and building a base of evidence for early literacy starting at birth which we hope can yield much-needed results for newborns and very young children everywhere.

Yesterday’s celebration was joyous because of the palpable sense in the room that we can do this – we CAN do right by every child, starting at birth. My Book Harvest colleagues and I are honored to collaborate in this pioneering work with Nikki Byers and Claudia Barrett, the former and current Executive Directors of Imprints Cares, and their team. I am deeply grateful to my fellow speaker at yesterday’s event, Joe Crocker, Director of Local Impact in Forsyth County at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. And I am in awe of the event hosts who delivered a day to remember: Anna Reilly, Wendy Brenner, and Lynn Segal.

The imperative is clear – and we are ready!

Read the press release about the launch celebration here.

Here are some short video highlights from the speakers at the launch celebration:

Read the press release about the launch celebration here.