APC’s staff and Help Me Grow (HMG) Alabama Regional Care Coordinators attended the 10th Annual HMG National Forum in Buffalo, NY on May 6-8, and the Help Me Grow Alabama team had both a fun and productive time “Celebrating Milestones,” as the theme of this year’s conference.
Keynote speakers at this year’s forum included Angela Santomero, creator of Blue’s Clues and author of, “Preschool Clues: Raising Smart, Inspired, and Engaged Kids in a Screen Filled World,” and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, key researcher in the Flint water crisis and author of the recent book, “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.”
In addition, Zero To Three Executive Director, Matthew Melmed, briefly gave an update on Zero To Three’s work and recognized the obvious connection and alignment between the missions of our two programs and national systems.
Dr. Paul Dworkin, founding director of Help Me Grow National Center, reflected on the past 10 years of convening in a recent blog post saying, “As a veteran of many (many, many) years of diverse meetings and related convenings, I am confident in declaring that the Help Me Grow National Forum is unlike any other in my experience from the standpoint of engagement, enthusiasm, good will, and camaraderie.”
National affiliation is a true value-add of the proven HMG model, including the ability to contribute to the National dialogue around the needs of families with young children, and to learn from other states to prevent “recreating the wheel.” The annual forum is just one example of the camaraderie that continues throughout each year, and it is always a chance for HMG Alabama to benefit from the expertise of national early childhood partners and the invaluable experiences of 30 other Help Me Grow affiliate states. Dr. Dworkin ended his blog post with a March Madness reference saying, “Unlike the ruthless, survive and advance mentality of the NCAA tournament, we are all on a championship team with the children and families we serve as the real winners.”