Hopeful Horizons: Local Leaders Sound Off on Week of the Young Child


  • Lara Burt
April 10, 2024 - (3 min read)

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and families. In honor of this year’s celebration (April 6-12), the NLC’s Early Childhood Success (ECS) team asked local leaders to share what their hope is for young children and families in their communities.

Mayor Craig Ford, Gadsden, AL

My hope for young children in Gadsden is that they feel loved, safe, and important. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, and that includes the parents, guardians, teachers, childcare workers, and so many more people critical to the future of our community. As the mayor of our city, it is my goal that we provide all the critical resources and infrastructure we possibly can to help those people support our children as they grow into confident, secure, and thriving individuals.

Councilwoman Lakeisha Gantt, Stockbridge, GA

My hope for the children and families in my community is that we continue to develop our community with the mindset of the Love we have for our children. The love of learning, the love of experiences, the love of Smart Quality development, the Love of Community. If we continue to Grow and Thrive with Love, our Children will grow into adulthood with the same Love and investment in our community, and so I hope that our children are experiencing the Love we have for them in our community.

Mayor Pro Term, Jessica Daniels Harrison, Zebulon, NC

A community thrives when it invests in the next four years and the next forty—that all begins with our youth. When we provide for our children, we’re empowering them to be the leaders we know they can be while ensuring we’re growing good citizens and leaving our future in good hands.

Councilwoman Becky Tuttle, Wichita, KS

My hope is that families in Wichita have access to safe and affordable childcare and early learning resources, regardless of their background or circumstance. Supporting early childhood resources not only helps support working families, but studies show that resources invested in early childhood development can have a significant impact on a child’s future academic, social, emotional, and physical development. Studies have also shown that every dollar invested in early childhood programs results in substantial returns in terms of reduced spending on remedial education, healthcare, and criminal justice, as well as increased productivity and earnings for individuals later in life. I TRULY appreciate all that our childcare and early learning providers do to make our great city even better!

Chief of Early Education Sean Perkins, Philadelphia, PA

In Philadelphia, we are excited to support our youngest learners in pursuit of civic, economic, and social success as they become the next generation of local, national, and global leaders.

As we celebrate the Week of the Young Child, the children and families in Philadelphia are being afforded more opportunities to guarantee civic, social, and economic success in the future. Philadelphia continues to invest its time, energy, and resources to ensure our children are safe, supported by strong families, and surrounded by thriving schools and communities.

Learn More

Beyond the ‘Week of the Young Child’, NLC’s Early Childhood Success team works year-round to improve local leaders’ capacity to reach across neighborhoods, align programs, and design and leverage municipal policies to build equitable systems that are responsive and supportive of young children, their teachers, and families.  Contact NLC’s experts to learn more about new resources and current initiatives.

About the Author

Lara Burt

About the Author

Lara Burt is a Senior Program Specialist, Early Childhood Success within the Center for Leadership, Education, Advancement, and Development at the National League of Cities.