(Cleveland, OH) - Early childhood educators, advocates, human services providers, elected officials, faith and community leaders from across Cleveland came together to attend the chartering ceremony for Black Child Development Institute-Cleveland. With support from the National Black Child Development Institute, the Cleveland Affiliate will implement health and wellness, family empowerment, and literacy programs, and partner with local schools, early childhood education centers, parents, and caregivers to provide resources to address key issues facing Black children and families throughout Cleveland and surrounding communities in Cuyahoga County through education and advocacy.
“Where parents and communities are engaged, children succeed,” says Tobeka G. Green, President and CEO of the National Black Child Development Institute. “We are proud to announce BCDI-Cleveland is ready to lead the charge to ensure Black children and families throughout Northeast Ohio have access to equitable resources and high-quality early childhood education,” says Green.
NBCDI, in partnership with its National Affiliate Network, develops and implements strengths-based, culturally-relevant, evidence-based, culturally responsive and trauma-informed curricula, training, and technical assistance that focus on health and wellness, literacy, and family engagement.
“If no one prepares the future generation for life, their generation will be lost,” says, Gloria Blevins, Founding President, BCDI-Cleveland, who also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Early Childhood Options, which for more than 30 years has designed child care services to meet unique care giving needs through its “Child Development Model” for agencies throughout the state Ohio.
BCDI-Cleveland is particularly focused on narrowing the achievement gap for Cleveland’s Black children and families, which starts as early as 9 months old and continues into first grade. One of BCDI-Cleveland’s first priorities is to survey and engage early childhood education providers and parents to inform the development of new discipline practices to reduce preschool suspensions and expulsions throughout Northeast Ohio. Data shows such suspensions are linked to a pipeline to prison later in life.
Additionally, BCDI-Cleveland will develop strategies to combat rising obesity rates in the city. With limited access to healthy foods, fresh produce, and other resources supporting healthier eating and lifestyles, 1 out of 3 African Americans in Cuyahoga County is currently obese. Obesity is a major threat to overall well-being and a cause of several diseases, including diabetes, which often plagues Black communities. Members of BCDI-Cleveland have already received training in the National Black Child Development Institute’s Good for Me! curriculum, supported by the Walmart Foundation, which promotes culturally-relevant healthy nutrition and fitness practices among Black families with young children.
BCDI-Cleveland hosted its chartering ceremony on Friday, November 3, 2017, at Fairhill Partners. The event, followed by a reception, included a number of distinguished guests and community members from local schools, child welfare and nonprofit organizations and faith institutions, including Councilmember Zack Reed (Ward 2); Reverend Larry A. Harris, Sr., Pastor Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church; Beverly Williams, Cleveland Association for the Education of Young Children; and representatives from the National Black Child Development Institute’s National Office, including Tobeka G. Green, President and CEO, Georgia Thompson, Vice President of Programs and Affiliate Network, and Danielle Adamson, Programs Manager.
For 47 years, the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) has been at the forefront of engaging leaders, policymakers, professionals, and parents around critical and timely issues that directly impact Black children and families. With the support of the organization’s National Affiliate Network, NBCDI is committed to its mission “to improve and advance the quality of life for Black children and families through education and advocacy.”
NBCDI delivers high-quality resources that respond to the unique strengths and needs of Black children around issues including early childhood education, health and wellness, child welfare, literacy, and family engagement. NBCDI’s volunteer-driven National Affiliate Network operates in communities across the country, partnering with children, families and organizations to implement evidence-based, strengths-based, culturally-relevant, culturally responsive and trauma-informed programs.
For more information on the National Black Child Development Institute, BCDI-Cleveland, and the National Affiliate Network, visit us online at www.nbcdi.org.
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