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Elgin

How can you help kids get a good start?

For over ten years, Elgin has worked alongside teachers, parents, and school administrators to elevate the academic performance and level of health care for children in rural Southern Appalachia. Our programs have proven children need support from a team of adult caregivers if they are to have any chance of surmounting the pressures of generational poverty and find success beyond school. A child’s progress can be measured through academic scores, test results, and health exams. Elgin, however, envisions true success to be when a new generation of children grows into transformed adults who have a strong sense of responsibility, selfless love for others, and a desire to see their communities and cultures enhance the chances of future generations to thrive and excel. We see our work as an integral stepping stone where the children we serve today are able to move from the obstacles of poverty to the freedoms which come with an educated mind and a healthy body.

In this TED Talk, Colin Powell — former U.S. Secretary of State, retired four-star general, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — speaks to these same issues and offers a similar response to the one Elgin offers through its academic and healthcare initiatives.

Colin Powell: Kids need structure

(excerpt taken from: http://www.ted.com/)

How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children from before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.

“The education process begins even before the child is born, and if you don’t do that, you’re going to have difficulty. And we are having difficulties in so many of our communities and so many of our schools where kids are coming to first grade and their eyes are blazing, they’ve got their little knapsack on and they’re ready to go, and then they realize they’re not like the other first graders who know books, have been read to, can do their alphabet. And by the third grade, the kids who didn’t have that structure and minding in the beginning start to realize they’re behind, and what do they do? They act it out. They act it out, and they’re on their way to jail or they’re on their way to being dropouts. It’s predictable. If you’re not at the right reading level at third grade, you are a candidate for jail at age 18, and we have the highest incarceration rate because we’re not getting our kids the proper start in life.”

– Colin Powell

What ideas do you have to help give kids a good start in life?

What’s being done in your community and how could you make a difference?

Are there ways you can bring other adults and caregivers into the work you’re doing to help children in your communities?

How do you start building on what you’ve been doing to ensure future generations will continue to benefit?

What are you doing to help the most helpless and vulnerable children in your communities find the structure and care they need?

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