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News Release: ‘Feed Me Words’ Promotes Talk With Me Baby Program

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THE ALABAMA PARTNERSHIP FOR CHILDREN LAUNCHES
“FEED ME WORDS” CAMPAIGN

 

Statewide Campaign to Promote Free Family Resources Supporting the
Healthy Brain Development of Their Children – Even Before They are Born

 

Montgomery, AL – All babies need “language nutrition.” It’s just as important as food nutrition, and it has the proven ability to determine the best possible path to success for every child no matter where they live or their families’ economic challenges.

 

The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) launched this week the “Feed Me Words” campaign, which is focused on spreading awareness on what adults can and must do right now to help every child in Alabama get the language nutrition they need for healthy brain development. It’s much easier than people realize; it costs nothing, can be given anytime and anywhere, and is a gift of joy and quality time for the adults, too.

 

“The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical years for their brain development; it’s when 95% of brain development occurs, and also when the unused brain cells get ‘pruned’,” explained APC Executive Director Gail Piggott. “Research shows that when adults have frequent, rich conversations with children during this very crucial time, they are helping determine how ready they will be for success in school and in life.”

 

The campaign, which launched its social media messaging in early December, is set to continue through the first quarter of 2020. Visitors of FeedMeWords.org gain access to all of the free resources provided by the APC and Talk With Me BabyTM, a program of the Georgia Department of Public Health.

 

“Alabama is taking a strong lead investing in early childhood development and education,” said Governor Kay Ivey in a recent statement. “I’m excited to support the Feed Me Words campaign, and I encourage all Alabamians to tap into these resources and learn more about supporting every single child’s foundational brain development.

 

“Our children will be charged with leading our state and will need to enter the workforce fully prepared for success; when we do everything that we can to ensure their best possible start in life, we also ensure a prosperous future for Alabama,” said Governor Ivey.

 

The APC has partnered with the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Georgia Department of Public Health to bring the expertise and resources of the Talk With Me Baby™ initiative to the state of Alabama. The online resources are free and provide many engaging and fun ways adults can talk, read and sing with the babies and toddlers in their lives.

 

“Children’s lives can be changed if they are engaged from birth in rich conversation with adults,” said DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) is thrilled to be a part of this exciting work to help ensure that all babies hear lots of loving words every day.

 

“We know that children need healthy food to grow; and research tells us that reading, singing, and talking to children is just as important to their growth,” Commissioner Buckner explained. “The ‘Language Nutrition’ they receive from parents and caregivers is essential to their future development and success in school.”

 

The multimedia campaign, incorporating social media, broadcast and print, and the website FeedMeWords.org, is an effort to reach everyone in Alabama who interacts with children under the age of five, whether in their own families, in their community, or in a professional capacity. The message is simple: talk, read and sing WITH infants and toddlers, interacting with them using every-day language, eye contact, body language, and – most importantly – allowing children time to respond back to them, even if just through “coos,” gestures and eye movements.

 

 

Related information for child care professionals:

 

The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) partnered earlier this year with the Atlanta Speech School’s Cox Campus to bring Read Right from the Start – a free, online professional development program – to anyone in Alabama working with children from birth to pre-k, who wishes to enhance their skills to help children develop strong language and literacy skills. More information the program and how to register can be found at AlabamaPartnershipforChildren.org/ourwork/rrfts.

 

Talk With Me Baby™ and Read Right from the Start are generously supported through funding from the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health, and by private funding from the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Protective Life Foundation and the PNC Foundation.

 


The Alabama Partnership for Children is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for Alabama’s children from birth to 5 years of age. This public-private partnership focuses on finding ways to use the state’s limited resources most efficiently to ensure that every Alabama child will have the opportunity to succeed in life. For more information, visit AlabamaPartnershipforChildren.org.

 

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Gail Piggott, executive director, 334-271-0304, gpiggott@APCteam.org
Julie Odom, 919-302-0773 mobile; jodom@APCteam.org
Collie Wells, 334-328-5853 mobile; cwells@APCteam.org

by Gail Piggott Gail Piggott No Comments

News Release: Alabama’s Economy Depends on Working Parents and Child Care

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Alabama’s Economy Depends on Working Parents and Child Care

 

Alabamians are going to work. Nearly 100,000 more of the state’s residents were employed in August 2019 compared to two years earlier.[1]  That’s based on the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and works out to roughly an extra two out of every 100 Alabamans over the age of 15 collecting a paycheck. The recent good news continues a long-running trend in Alabama, where the share of adults with a job has risen to its highest point in nearly eleven years and resulted in the state’s lowest unemployment rate on record.

To further foster this trend, it is important to understand the critical role child care is playing in boosting Alabama’s economy. Child care isn’t only a means to providing parents with the option of work. By enabling more Alabama parents to find or keep a job and balance work with their family responsibilities, child care also unlocks an important source of talent for Alabama employers.  Plus, it is an important industry in its own right. Over 16,000 Alabamians are paid for work related to child care, and the state’s child care sector as a whole is estimated to generate direct revenues and support for additional education and work that, taken together, are worth more than $800 million annually.[2]

Source: Child Care in State Economies: 2019 Update, Committee for Economic Development, 2019.

Alabamas Economy Depends on Working Parents and Child Care Tuscaloosa forum November 20 2019 (approved) This fall, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, West Alabama Works, and the Alabama Partnership for Children held a forum where employee child care challenges were discussed. Employers identified the lack of affordable, accessible child care for employees – including the availability of child care during non-traditional hours as well as related issues such as the low pay earned by the child care workforce, which impacts the supply of and growth in the industry to provide access to child care. These issues are connected because the supply of child care is related to the availability of a child care workforce to provide child care services.  In a good economy where workers can earn higher wages in the fast food industry or retail sales, it’s challenging to retain child care programs in the community – let alone grow them to meet employee demand.

One sign of how important child care is for employers and employees alike is that, by one estimate, businesses nationwide lose more than $4.4 billion a year due to employee absences resulting from breakdowns in child care arrangements.[3]  Parents who struggle to find reliable child care may be limited in the hours they can work or the jobs they can perform. And research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that lowering the cost of child care paid by parents significantly increases the likelihood that a mother will work.[4]

Mothers, who typically bear the brunt of parental child care responsibilities, are a significant part of Alabama’s workforce.  Across the state, more than 200,000 families with children under age 12 include a mother who works or is looking for work.[5]  Even among mothers with small children, most participate in the workforce. Last year, about 67.8 percent of women with children under age 6 were in the state’s labor force.[6]  But that contribution to Alabama’s economy depends on the availability of and access to child care, often purchased from one of Alabama’s more than 7,000 market-based child care providers.[7]  The result is that about 56.7 percent of Alabama children from birth to age five spend more than ten hours per week in the care of someone other than their parents.[8]  Knowing from research about the impact of adult interactions on a child’s development in those key years from birth to age 5, early learning providers play a crucial role on the impact of those educational settings which help build the foundation for future success in life.

Those findings, drawn from the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board’s report, “Child Care in State Economies,” help reinforce the key role child care plays in facilitating the work of parents and strengthening Alabama’s workforce. And with so many Alabama children spending significant time in non-parental care, it is clear that access to affordable, quality child care will matter not just for today’s workers and employers, but for the healthy development and school readiness of the state’s next generation of potential workers and citizens as well.

The consensus at the Tuscaloosa forum was that both partnerships with the business community and additional state funding is needed to address employee access to child care (e.g., affordability), the child care supply shortage (e.g., availability of child care), and workforce compensation strategies (e.g., state wage supplements or tax credits to retain and grow the child care workforce).  With an anticipated 500,000 additional workers needed by 2025 throughout Alabama, we can’t afford to ignore current child care challenges. These are challenges with solutions. The time is now to join all stakeholders and develop strategies to ensure that addressing employee child care challenges is a top priority. The future prosperity of our state depends on it.

 

Gail Piggott, Executive Director – Alabama Partnership for Children
Jim Page, President & Chief Executive Officer – The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama

 


[1] Authors’ calculations based on “States and selected areas:  Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, January 1976 to date, seasonally adjusted,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed on October 9, 2019. Alabama’s employed civilian labor force increased from 2.088 million in August 2017 to 2.185 million in August 2019, and the share of the civilian noninstitutional population employed increased from 54.4 percent to 56.6 percent.

[2]Child Care in State Economies: 2019 Update,” Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (CED), January 2019.

[3]Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2017,” Child Care Aware of America, 2017.

[4] Kimberly Burgess, Nina Chien, Maria Enchautegui, “The Effects of Child Care Subsidies on Maternal Labor Force Participation in the United States,” US Department of Health and Human Services, December 2016.

[5] Authors’ calculations based on Sarah Flood, Miriam King, Renae Rodgers, Steven Ruggles, and J. Robert Warren,

“Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 6.0,” Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2018.

[6] [6] U.S. Census Bureau, Table S 2301, 2018 American Community Survey, 1 Year Estimates. https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=s2301&lastDisplayedRow=25&table=S2301&tid=ACSST1Y2017.S2301&hidePreview=true&g=0400000US01

[7]Child Care in State Economies: 2019 Update,” Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board (CED), January 2019.

[8] Ibid.

by Lauren Lewis Lauren Lewis No Comments

Early Language & Literacy Coordinator, Talk With Me Baby™

| Early Language & Literacy Coordinator (Talk With Me Baby™)

 

The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) in Montgomery, AL has an opening for a part-time Early Language & Literacy Coordinator for the Talk With Me Baby™ initiative. The Early Language & Literacy Coordinator (ELL-TWMB) supports the Special Projects Coordinator by providing technical assistance and coordinating administrative activities to allow for the successful launch, implementation and support of early language and literacy models across the state. This is an exempt position, and the ELL-TWMB reports to the Special Projects Coordinator.

This position is part-time (20 hrs/wk) , and minimum qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related health or human services field, with experience in child care/early childhood, early language & literacy, training and professional development, and data management preferred. The APC offers an opportunity to work with multiple state agency partners, local service providers, parents/families, and advocates to deliver high quality programs and services that promote young children’s optimum development. The agency observes state and federal holidays and has generous annual and sick leave policies. Highly organized and dedicated candidates with a strong work ethic who want to work with a high energy group of supportive professionals in a family-friendly environment are encouraged to apply.

For consideration, please send a resume by January 15, 2020 to:

APC Employment
2595 Bell Road
Montgomery, AL 36117

Or, email pjackson@apcteam.org with the subject line “ELL-TWMB Coordinator”.

EOE M/V/F/D

by Julie Odom Julie Odom No Comments

Coming Soon: APC’s “Feed Me Words!” Campaign

 

The Alabama Partnership for Children is partnering with the Georgia Department of Public Health to bring the expertise and resources of the Talk With Me BabyTM initiative to the state of Alabama, and the Feed Me Words campaign will spread public awareness of these resources, as well as the importance of intentional early language and literacy activities for all children.

“Language nutrition” refers to rich language interactions between caregivers and infants and is critical for a child’s socio-emotional and vocabulary development. Remarkably, vocabulary at the age of three is the single strongest predictor of a child’s future literacy and educational success, which has important implications for health and economic outcomes.

Talk With Me Baby resources provide both visual and written cues, and bright, positive, baby-friendly designs to help bring the message of language nutrition to all families. Talk With Me Baby is reaching caregivers through a variety of media sources and touch points, like print media and resources, digital media, social media, and a comprehensive website.

Click here to browse the Talk With Me Baby resources.


The Alabama Partnership for Children has also partnered with the Atlanta Speech School’s Cox Campus to bring Read Right from the Start to anyone in Alabama working with children from birth to pre-k, who wishes to enhance their skills to help children develop strong language and literacy skills. This research-based professional development program contains interactive, video-based coursework, which is focused on practical strategies teachers can use to promote young children’s language and literacy.

Click here to find out more, and to register for the Read Right from the Start online training program.

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Talk With Me Baby™ and Read Right from the Start are generously supported through funding from the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health, and by private funding from the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Protective Life Foundation and the PNC Foundation.


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by Caliste Chong Caliste Chong No Comments

Whole Foods Market Community Giving Day to benefit the APC

The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) announced that it will receive 5% of net sales from five of Whole Foods Market’s locations around the state on Thursday, October 17th as part of the nonprofit’s annual Community Giving Days. All funds raised by Whole Foods Market will support Alabama programs that help children from birth to 5 years have all the resources they need for their healthy development.

“We are committed to providing early care and education programs with every support needed to give young children in their care the best and healthiest start in life,” said Caliste Chong, APC’s Early Childhood Program Coordinator. “When young children grow up in healthy learning environments – including receiving healthy foods, loving interactions, developmentally-appropriate education, and lots of physical activity – they are prepared for success when they enter school.”

Volunteers will have a healthy snack activity for kids set-up at both stores from between 11:00 am – 2:00 pm and again from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

The October Community Giving Day initiative is Food and Wellness, focusing on organizations, partnerships, projects and events that leverage food as a preventative, nourishing and restorative health and wellness resource. More than 500 Whole Foods Market locations will participate in the Community Giving Day by donating to organizations, projects and programs that support the mission of strengthening communities through food.

 

WHAT:         Whole Foods Market Community Giving Day
to benefit the Alabama Partnership for Children

WHEN:         Thursday, October 17th, 8:00am-10:00pm

WHERE:       Whole Foods Market locations:

  • 2501 Memorial Parkway SW, Huntsville
  • 3780 Riverchase Village, Hoover
  • 3100 Cahaba Village Plaza, Birmingham
  • 450 Taylor Road, Montgomery
  • 3968 Airport Boulevard, Mobile

 

The Alabama Partnership for Children is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for Alabama’s children from birth to 5 years of age. This public-private partnership focuses on finding ways to use the state’s limited resources most efficiently to ensure that every Alabama child will have the opportunity to succeed in life. For more information, visit AlabamaPartnershipforChildren.org.

About Whole Foods Market® 
For 39 years, Whole Foods Market has been the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. As the first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. To learn more about Whole Foods Market, please visit media.wfm.com.

by Lauren Lewis Lauren Lewis No Comments

Encouraged by CCDBG Funds Increase

The average cost of child care in many places in America exceeds the average family mortgage or in-state college tuition: that is outrageous. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the threshold for what is considered ‘affordable’ child care is no more than 7% of a family’s income.l In reality, today that percentage is often closer to 30%, which can completely change the economic well-being of a family. When families struggle, entire communities struggle.

In Alabama the annual cost for high-quality child care takes up from 10.4% to 13.1% of a family’s income. For a state with over 203,000 children under the age of six, with 69% of them in low-income households, the cost can force families to settle for cheap, low-quality and risky child care options so they can support their family financially. It is unacceptable for any family to have to choose between staying home to care for their child or being gainfully employed.

There is help for families through the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) subsidy program. But currently only 30% of eligible Alabama children are receiving this vital child care assistance. That amounts to about 97,950 unserved children at risk.2 That amounts to almost the entire population of Tuscaloosa.3

We are encouraged by Congress’ progress on improving child care quality and access by steadily increasing funding to the CCDBG, which helps to narrow this “child care gap” by providing the needed subsidy for more eligible children. The CCDBG received an historic $2.4 billion increase in 2018, which supports states’ advancement efforts in meeting families’ child care needs.

Alabama saw a 76.5% increase in discretionary CCDBG funds that helped to drive its grant to $93.9 million.4 This increase meant Alabama received $40.4 million more to go toward efforts like eliminating the child care waiting lists, increasing eligibility for low-income families, and providing assistance to serve 4,000 more children. Alabama is also using those additional dollars to ensure subsidy rates support high-quality care and to increase the quality of early childhood teachers through professional development, including those in faith-based programs.

The ask to Congress for 2020 is simple: an increase of $20 million to the CCDBG. Investing in the best possible care for all children not only supports healthy child development and school readiness, but it is a necessary support for working families in Alabama.

For those of us working every day promote the healthy development and education for all of Alabama’s youngest citizens, it’s a no-brainer: when children thrive, entire communities thrive. We encourage everyone to contact their Congressional delegates now and ask them to fight for this game-changing increase in CCDBG funds.

Join us in contact Senator Shelby to thank him and ask for his continued support.

Washington D.C. Office

Mailing Address:

304 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Telephone: (202) 224-5744

Link to Send Email:  <https://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailsenatorshelby&lt>

Montgomery Office

Mailing Address:

FMJ Federal Courthouse
15 Lee Street, Suite 208
Montgomery, AL 36104

Telephone: (334) 223-7303

Fax: (334) 223-7317

Gail Piggott is the executive director for the Alabama Partnership for Children (APC), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for Alabama’s children from birth to 5 years of age. This public-private partnership focuses on finding ways to use the state’s limited resources most efficiently to ensure that every Alabama child will have an opportunity to succeed in life. For more information, visit AlabamaPartnershipforChildren.org


1 When Child Care Costs More Than a Mortgage, by Ann Bahney, CNN Business, August 29, 2019.
The Business Case for Increasing Child Care: Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Funding, collaborative publication of Alabama Arise, Alabama Partnership for Children and VOICES for Alabama’s Children, July, 2019.
3 Alabama Cities by Population, Alabama Demographics published by Cubit, from the U.S. Census Bureau, annual estimates of the resident population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018.
4 Report: Enhanced child care funding makes life better for Alabama’s children and families, by Carol Gundlach, July 2, 2019, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity.

by Lauren Lewis Lauren Lewis No Comments

Alabama Partnership for Children Awarded $26,000 for New Books by Nonprofit “First Book”

The Alabama Partnership for Children (APC) was awarded $26,000 for new books that will expand the APC’s mission: to work in partnership with families and organizations to ensure that all Alabama children (birth to five) get everything they need to develop to their fullest potential.

“We want every child in Alabama to have access to a variety of age appropriate books, which will help give them a strong foundation for building emerging literacy skills,” said Gail Piggott, the APC executive director.

The APC applied for the grant in collaboration with Reach Out and Read-Alabama, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and the office of the Governor as an effort to help bolster the Alabama Campaign for Grade Level Reading. APC will use the funds in partnership with Reach Out and Read-Alabama to put books in the hands of children and their families in under-resourced communities.

“In launching the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, my mission was to promote literacy among at-risk children. That also means providing access to quality books,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “I’m proud that this First Book project brings us closer to reaching that goal.”

Access to adequate resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational success in the United States.1 Research indicates that just the presence of books in the home improves educational outcomes, yet low-income communities across the U.S. are plagued by vast ‘book deserts’ – with one community having only a single book per as many as 830 children.2  Additionally, members of the First Book Network, who exclusively serve children in need, have indicated that without First Book, the children they serve would have access to very few books, if any at all.3

“With this award, our pediatric healthcare providers will continue to prescribe new, high-quality books to the children we serve,” said Polly McClure, Reach Out and Read-Alabama  Statewide Coordinator. “Providing these books at checkups encourage parents to read together daily, which is essential in literacy and language development in their child.”

First Book, the non-profit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for children in need, awarded the funds as part of its OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation. This national program will give more than $4.7 million in funding to distribute 1.5 million brand new books and eBooks to children living in low-income communities in 33 U.S. states and territories.

“We know that access to books and eBooks makes a significant difference in a child’s future success,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and cofounder. “Children do not thrive in deeply under-resourced environments, and too many of the schools and programs have far too little. This deprivation has long-term consequences for the children, their families, their communities and our nation. This could not be more urgent. With the OMG Books Awards, First Book, the Alabama Partnership for Children and Reach Out and Read-Alabama are investing not only in the future of the kids we’re reaching, but in the overall wellbeing of our nation.”

Awardees will use the funding to select books from the First Book Marketplace (www.fbmarketplace.com), First Book’s award-winning eCommerce platform, that best meet the needs of the children they serve.  Alabama was among 9 states in the first cycle of awards. Additional awards will be granted throughout 2019.

Eligible educators, librarians, child care providers, and others serving children in need can sign up to receive resources from First Book outside of OMG Books Awards at firstbook.org/join. For more information, please visit firstbook.org.


 1 Sikora, et al. DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.10.003
2Susan B. Neuman, Naomi Moland. “Book Deserts.” Urban Education, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/0042085916654525
3First Book Member Survey, 2016

News Release Contacts:
Gail Piggott, Alabama Partnership for Children, 334-271-0304
Polly McClure, Reach Out and Read-Alabama, 205-223-0097
Dianna Tullier, AL Department of Early Childhood Education, 334-224-3171
Nick Moore, Education Policy Advisor to Governor Kay Ivey, 334-353-0705
Melanie Boyer, First Book, 202-639-0114, mboyer@firstbook.org


 

The Alabama Partnership for Children is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for Alabama’s children from birth to 5 years of age. This public-private partnership focuses on finding ways to use the state’s limited resources most efficiently to ensure that every Alabama child will have an opportunity to succeed in life. For more information, visit SmartStartAlabama.org

Reach Out and Read-Alabama is a program of the Alabama Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics. The evidence-based Reach Out and Read program builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning in infancy. Contact Polly McClure for more information: visit www.roralabama.org, or email pmcclure@roralabama.org.

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education is the state home visiting lead agency that houses the First Teacher Home Visiting Program and First Class Pre-K. The evidence-based models of service delivery used focus on improving health outcomes for families and children, as well as better preparing both parents and children for entry into the education system. For more information, visit www.children.alabama.gov.

First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. Through sustainable, market-driven models, First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by making new, high-quality books and educational resources — including sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more — affordable to its member network of more than 400,000 registered educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more learning materials than any other program of its kind: 175 million books and educational resources worth more than $1.5 billion, reaching more than 5 million children annually across the U.S. and Canada.   

First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator that brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources.

For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter: @firstbook.

 

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