Home » Local Leaders and Business Figures Rally with United Way for Louisiana Early Ed Month

Local Leaders and Business Figures Rally with United Way for Louisiana Early Ed Month

by Minden Press-Herald

Thursday marked a pivotal moment for early childhood education as local legislators and business leaders convened for Early Learning Day, hosted by the United Way of Northwest Louisiana and The Arc Caddo-Bossier. The event, held in collaboration with the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) and the Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW), served as a cornerstone of the annual 2024 Louisiana Early Ed Month, spanning the entirety of February across the state.

Highlighting the imperative need to enhance access to quality early care and education for children from birth to age four, the gathering drew policymakers, business luminaries, and community stakeholders from across Northwest Louisiana.

“Our mission at the United Way is to help families achieve their potential and live healthy, financially stable lives,” affirmed LaToria W. Thomas, President & CEO of United Way of Northwest Louisiana. “Providing children a strong start in life and education while supporting parents in the workforce is foundational for thriving families.”

At the heart of today’s events was a visit to the new Goldman School in the Highland Center, offering participants a firsthand glimpse into the realm of high-quality early care and education. City representatives Amanda Nottingham and Bonnie Moore, on behalf of Bossier and Shreveport, proclaimed February 22 as Early Ed Day. Following the proclamation, UWNWLA conducted a reading demonstration, highlighting efforts to foster a love for reading among children enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Dr. Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D., executive director of LPIC, underscored the economic significance of early education, stating, “Louisiana loses over a billion dollars in economic activity each year because children don’t have access to high-quality child care.”

LaShanda Davis, Director of Children’s Services for The Arc Caddo-Bossier, emphasized the inclusive nature of their approach, stating, “The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s Goldman School is an inclusive child development center, which means children with disabilities are learning alongside their typically developing peers.”

Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of LAUW, stressed the long-term impact of early care and education, urging legislators to prioritize funding and access. “Investing in early care and education will help ensure that more young children in Louisiana are entering school prepared,” she affirmed.

As the event concluded, the call to action resounded clear: to advocate for and invest in the future of Louisiana’s youngest learners. To learn more about early child care and education in Louisiana, visit Policyinstitutela.org, and join the conversation using #LAEarlyEdMonth on social media.

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