What makes members of Congress look good?
Last week, the national nonprofit Zero to Three proved this point when it held a first-time-ever event called Strolling Thunder, a gathering of babies and parents from many states who came to Washington, D.C., to meet their Congressional representatives — and to put babies in the spotlight.
The effort was part of Zero to Three’s Think Babies campaign, which promotes enriching early experiences that provide babies with a strong developmental foundation.
“The science is clear that our brains grow faster between the ages of 0 and 3 than at any later point in our lives,” Think Babies explains on its website. “When babies don’t get what their growing brains need during this crucial time, it can lead to life-long developmental, educational, social, and health challenges.”
Among the families who attended the event, according to WTOP News, were parents who are also powerful advocates.
“Erica Yamauchi and her 17-month-old daughter took two different planes and flew for 12 hours to attend Strolling Thunder. The Honolulu, Hawaii, resident wanted to make sure her representatives and others on the Hill knew the hardships Hawaiians face when it comes to raising a family.
“Yamauchi said her state lacks universal preschool and the cost of child care, in addition to the cost of living, is astronomical. She wants to see more options for affordable care and wants more paid time off for parents to bond with their children in their first few years of life.
“‘It’s really easy to forget what it’s like to have babies and toddlers and how hard it can be on families,’ she said.”
“Former Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), founders of the Congressional Baby Caucus, also spoke at the stroller-filled gathering.” The baby caucus was launched in 2009.
To make progress for babies, Zero to Three is calling on Congress to:
– support paid family leave policies and options so parents have time to bond with their babies,
– increase access to quality, affordable childcare; and
– build up mental health supports in primary pediatric care and early childhood programs to effectively support child development from day one.
Want to get involved? Use #ThinkBabies on Twitter to share posts – and to see more images from Strolling Thunder.
Or just build awareness by using two of Think Babies’ cool slogans:
“Babies are a bipartisan issue.”
“The future begins with babies.”