A Message from Our Chair, Ed Feaver
What happens when a child is neglected, ignored, underfed, denied appropriate health care, deprived of quality early learning and development experiences or physically or psychologically abused? That child loses hope, becomes despondent or hostile, suffers unnecessarily from preventable physical and mental health problems, and is not able to participate successfully in school. His/her natural creativity is stifled or diverted to destructive activity, she/he becomes alienated from peers, and, in the long term, becomes an economic and social burden instead of a vibrant, energizing contributor to a healthy community.
Unfortunately, many of our children do not receive the nurturing and support they need in the most formative years of their lives.
Whole Child Leon exists to help our community insure that all children thrive. This requires all sectors of the community to be involved in assisting parents in nurturing and supporting their children. It requires service providers to break out of programmatic boxes and integrate services so that all dimensions of a whole child are addressed. It requires political and business leaders to insist on adequate investment in early education, health care and economic support for families so that no child is denied the basic building blocks for future success.
This year Whole Child Leon will expand its partnerships to include parents, business and community leaders, faith based communities, civic and neighborhood associations, and service providers who have not yet become active partners. We will focus on identifying the most serious gaps in the availability and effectiveness of services in our community and determine strategies for filling these gaps. And, we will reach out to counties throughout the Big Bend to assist them in initiating or strengthening Whole Child projects in their communities.
As our past Chair, Loranne Ausley, so succinctly said, “Whole Child Leon is building a community where every day we all ask ‘How are the children?’ How does what I am doing here in my own life impact the children? How can we do things differently to make sure that our entire community is providing the supports necessary for all children to thrive?”
We thank the United Way of the Big Bend, the Leon County School Board, the Tallahassee City Commission, the Leon County Commission, Capital Health Plan, the Whole Child Professional Network, and individual volunteers for their continued commitment to building a Whole Child Community. In the spirit of creating a “no wrong door culture,” I encourage any resident or organization in Leon County, who is interested in helping all children thrive, to contact Courtney Atkins, the Executive Director of Whole Child Leon, and ask how you can get involved.