December 18, 2014
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Fortifying our future

It’s been said that the most important investment we can make is in our children. And its true. It’s like building a house with a sturdy foundation: start strong and you’ll have a structure that lasts. If you build that same house on a foundation of sand, it won’t be able to stand strong the test of time.

The same is true with children. If we invest in them now, they’ll grow to strengthen our economy, our workforce and our culture. If we neglect them, things are bound to crumble in the future, just like the house built upon grains of sand.

That’s why we have to invest in the kids. Nurture them now, and when they’re adults they’ll be ready to shape the future.

Yesterday at the 2012 Kids Count Factbook release, advocates attested to the importance of providing quality programming to youth. The key, they said, is ensuring they receive support, quality education and access to healthcare. Combine these three things and children and teens are much more likely to lead successful, vibrant lives.

Senator Jack Reed said the issues surrounding children in the state are directly related to Rhode Island’s economic growth. If we groom children now, we’ll have a stronger workforce – and therefore a stronger economy – tomorrow. Teaching students lifelong skills and ensuring they stay in school are critical steps in developing a population that contributes to the state’s status quo.

The Kids Count Data shows we’re heading in a good direction, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. High school graduation rate is up in Warwick, as it is across the state, but there are still bumps in the road like teen pregnancy and child abuse and neglect.

That’s why education alone isn’t enough. Children must have proper access to healthcare and services that ensure their well being and safety.

Rhode Island is taking strides towards making a healthier child population, implementing healthier menus at school and programs to combat childhood obesity. But the results are only being seen in the youngest age group, or 2 to 5 years old. Still, it’s a sign of progress. If we start with the youngest, the trend will grow and continue with them, and not only through their adolescence but into adulthood.

Congressman David Cicilline said it yesterday: “The best investment we can make is in kids. The rest will take care of itself from there.”

Children are the foundation of our state and country’s future. If we fortify them now, we can ensure that we’ll have a promising future.


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