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Leadership Connections

News from the Academy of ZERO TO THREE Fellows
December 2023

Dear ZERO TO THREE Fellows,

Terrorism and War Sharpen Focus on Traumatic Effects of Violence on Babies and Toddlers

The ongoing state of the world has brought a lot of pain and suffering for many. If you haven’t seen the ZERO TO THREE statement on the conflict in Gaza and Israel as well as the impact of war and terror on infants and young children across the globe, please see our website. If you would like to share additional thoughts on how to best help babies and families in any war zones in addition to any general resources, please share on the newly launched  Fellows Community Site.

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    News & Updates

    Community Site Relaunch!

    The Academy of ZERO TO THREE Fellows Community Site has re-launched! As a reminder, the site is designed to provide the opportunity for social and professional networking with Fellows from the multitude of classes from 1981 forward. If you have any questions on how to (re)log-on or have any technical issues, please contact Anne Howley

    ZERO TO THREE LEARN Conference

    Congratulations to Deb Harris (2009), Abel Covarrubias (2014-16), and Shin Yee Tan (2020-22) for winning the LEARN Conference Reception Raffle Prize from Minneapolis! 

    The Policy, Advocacy, and Research (PAR) Collaboration Awards Update

    The purpose of these annual awards is to further the mission of the Academy in supporting collaboration among Fellows to advance or apply policy, advocacy, or research to improve the wellbeing of young children and their families. Although small, these awards offer a great opportunity for seeding and growing your ideas, collaborations, and projects.

    The Academy Council’s 2024 PAR Collaboration Awards

    This year we were happy to announce that Fellows were able to apply for an award of up to $5,000. The application period for this year is now closed. Stay tuned – we look forward to announcing this year’s recipients and providing virtual opportunities for you to learn more about the exciting PAR projects selected.

    If you have any questions about the PAR Collaboration Awards, please email the Academy Council’s PAR Coordinators:

    Margaret McLaren

    Featured 2022 PAR Collaboration Award Final Report

    All the final reports of our PAR Collaboration Awarded projects are featured in the Academy newsletter in the year following their award cycle. Three of the 4 awarded projects for the 2022 award cycle were already featured. Here is the report of the fourth and final project for the 2022 award cycle – a collaboration of three Canadian Fellows.  It is noteworthy that three of the four projects in this cycle were international collaborations of Fellows.

    Project Title: Knowledge Translation: Developing Content for a Canadian Certificate Program in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Promotion and Intervention

    Fellows: Lee Hinton (2018-20), Jean Clinton (2012-14) and Erin Lucas (2018-20)

    Our project focused on developing evidence-based, engaging, interactive, and virtual content for the ten-month, part-time certificate program in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Promotion and Intervention. The program’s goal is to strengthen knowledge and practice and is aimed at those working in disciplines / programs, such as (but not limited to) early learning and care, education, primary health, child welfare, rehabilitation services, mental health, and other support systems.

    Rooted in the Canadian IECMH Competency Framework (©IEMHP), the program will build on practitioners’ knowledge of child development through a focused understanding of infant and early mental health. Informed by science and best practice related to infant and early childhood mental health, the program will provide participants with opportunities to:

    • Understand how relationships shape early and later brain development, a child’s view of the world and their place in it, and health outcomes.
    • Engage in discussion and reflection on the role of infant and early mental health across the lifespan.
    • Embed new knowledge and skills specific to infant and early mental health into individual practice.
    • Expand knowledge and skills in promotion, prevention, and early intervention strategies.
    • Explore and expand familiarity with tools and resources such as (but not limited to) Ages and Stages Questionnaires, Hand in Hand, and Watch, Wait and Wonder, among many others.
    • Explore new research and ideas related to infant and early mental health.

    Objectives for future participants of the certificate program are as follows:

    • Learn about infant and early childhood mental health development. 
    • Promote infant and early childhood mental health.
    • Prevent further vulnerability in young children at risk for poor mental health outcomes.
    • Provide basic interventions to children requiring additional mental health and wellbeing support.
    • Provide support to parents / caregivers in navigating access to the supports and services that may benefit a child.
    • Advocate for support and services for individual children and young children in general.
    • Provide leadership in the development of practices within agencies that specifically support infant and early childhood mental health.
    • Influence the tools and resources used within an agency to support infant and early childhood mental health.
    • Guide the development of organizational policies that reflect the science of infant and early childhood mental health.

    The proposed project has taken longer than projected and is ongoing. The certificate program outline, registration requirements, goals and objectives, curriculum outline, and syllabuses have been developed and finalized. Content was next to be written with the program scheduled to begin in October 2023.

    The PAR Collaboration Award allowed for consultation and dedicated time for the project. Partnering with IEMHP has allowed for a network of professionals to come together and consult on the program, therefore creating a more robust educational experience.

    Lee Hinton

    Jean Clinton

    A headshot of Erin Lucas

    Erin Lucas

    Fellows Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

    We are announcing the launch of this year’s Fellows Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign, and we invite you to grow your impact. It’s a chance for you to create your fundraiser, tailored to your preferences, and make a significant contribution to the Academy of Fellows.

    Thanks to fundraising efforts in the past, the Academy of ZERO TO THREE Fellows Community Platform launched. Additionally, the Policy, Advocacy, and Research (PAR) Collaboration Award annual cycle grant was increased to a total of $10,000 with individual awards of up to $5,000!

    Previous peer-to-peer campaigns resulted in $5,427 from 102 new donors, including $947 in recurring donations! That’s growing impact!

    Donating to the Fellows is the best way to keep nurturing crucial relationships. The Fellowship provides a network of support. I am no longer alone but part of an encouraging community ready to help me puzzle through my challenges and listen to my hopes and dreams.

    How You Can Get Started:

    • Click “Start a Fundraiser”: It’s the first step toward making a difference!
    • Customize Your Campaign: Personalize your campaign by giving it a unique name, adding a story and setting a fundraising goal.
    • Share and Manage: Receive a special link to share across social media, emails and word of mouth to celebrate your fundraiser.
    • Spread the Word: Your enthusiasm can be infectious and every little bit counts.

    Starting a fundraiser is easy and offers an impactful way to ensure all babies get a strong start in life. Your efforts can make a remarkable difference in the lives of babies and their families.

    Thank you for being a Baby Champion and thank you for taking the time to grow your impact.

    With gratitude,
    Nucha Isarowong
    Academy Annual Campaign Chair

    Fellows News

    Fellow Recognition

    Rochelle Matacz HeadshotRochelle Matacz (2016-18) has been recognized for her contribution to the field of infant mental health with the Deborah J. Weatherston Infant Mental Health Leadership Award.  The award was presented at the 15th Annual Weatherston Summit for the Alliance Leaders in November.

    Rochelle was nominated by colleagues at the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health – Western Australia (AAIMH WA) and is recognized for the ways she contributes to the practice and understanding of cultural humility in IECMH-informed professional development through research, publications, and presentations; advocates, mentors, and leads programs/systems; inspires others to promote and provide workforce development opportunities that are informed by the Diversity Informed Tenets.

    The Deborah J. Weatherston Infant Mental Health Leadership Award is dedicated to and named  in honor of a passionate leader who has inspired and nurtured many around the world to affirm the baby’s voice, to appreciate the potential of connection, and to be present during those moments that require us to find our own voices so we might listen better to the stories waiting to emerge.

    Please join us in congratulating Rochelle!

    Fellowship Spotlight

    Photo of Anne Howley and Family

    Hello, Academy of Fellows!

    I couldn’t be happier to join Lynette and ZTT! I came on board as Program Coordinator with the Leadership Development Institute this spring. I look forward to getting to know you all.

    My background is in social work, supporting children and families in a range of settings. I live outside Portland, Maine with my husband, daughter (5) and son (2). I love to get outside, adventure, and read. These days though, I’m reading mostly children’s literature (but no complaints!) and our “hikes” are quite a bit shorter!

    Please reach out and welcome Anne on the Academy of ZERO TO THREE Fellows Community Site!

    Call for Volunteers

    The Academy Council would LOVE to have more volunteers to help further advance our vision and mission, so PLEASE consider volunteering to be part of this amazing group! – Aimee Hilado and Ann Chu, Academy Council Co-Chairs

    The vision of the ZERO TO THREE Academy of Fellows is the development of a thriving, relationship-based community of Fellows that promotes the well-being of infants, children, and families.

    The mission is to build and grow a professional community of ZERO TO THREE leadership fellows that strives to promote ongoing collaboration, mentorship, and relationships to support our work and the mission of ZERO TO THREE.

    Headshot of Aimee Hilado

    Aimee Hilado

    Ann Chu Headshot

    Ann Chu

    ZERO TO THREE Highlights

    Honoring Native American Heritage

    native american family in park

    In many indigenous communities, children are viewed as sacred beings. They are earth’s most recent inhabitants and have a close connection to the Creator.

    For Native American communities, providing a strong start for their children includes enriching practices that respect and embrace their heritages, languages, and cultures. These practices are the heartbeat of tribal nations. Join us in celebrating our indigenous communities and the caregivers and professionals who support them.

    Culturally Grounded, Evidence-Based Tribal Home Visiting

    Supporting the development of happy, healthy, and successful American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) children and families

    In September 2023, President Biden signed legislation expanding the Tribal MIECHV program to support 41 grants serving 68 tribal and 17 urban Native communities. ZERO TO THREE’s Programmatic Assistance for Tribal Home Visiting (PATH) team supports these grantees by increasing their capacity to implement high-quality home visiting programs within tribal communities and develop integrated early childhood systems serving American Indian and Alaska Native families (AIAN).

    The Growing Brain Basics Webinar Series

    Virtual • December 12, 2023 through December 21, 2023 

    How babies’ brains grow in the context of relationships is one of the most important topics in early childhood development. Research on this topic is exploding, underscoring the need for early childhood professionals to learn about foundations of brain development and strategies to best support the growing brains of infants and young children. This series supports participants’ exploration of key concepts, research, and concrete strategies from ZERO TO THREE’s The Growing Brain: From Birth to 5 Years Old curriculum. The series is composed of 4, 90-minute webinars expertly facilitated by ZERO TO THREE Faculty.

    Participants will explore:

    • Brain Basics: how the brain grows and develops from conception to 5 years old and how to support healthy brain development
    • Cognitive Development: language and executive function and how these skills are heavily intertwined
    • Social-Emotional Development and Understanding Behavior: how relationships and attachment affect development and behavior
    • Everyday Play: how play builds children’s capacities in all areas of development

    Price: $99 | Member Price:  $79

    Working for Equity

    Essence Magazine, woman pushing stroller with toddler

    According to the State of Babies Yearbook: 2023, America’s babies are more diverse than ever, but the data continue to show clear racial disparities. ZERO TO THREE Senior Director of Federal Policy Patricia Cole spoke with Essence about why the numbers should add up, but don’t, particularly for Black families, “Our State of Babies Yearbook shows that Black families have the highest percentage of working mothers. However, almost ⅓ of Black families still remain below the poverty line.” Our research makes clear that poverty and access to resources continue to be sharply divided along racial lines, and we must Think Babies to work towards equity for all.


    Support the Academy of Fellows

    Your contribution will help us promote collaborations and partnerships, sustain relationships, support the fellowship program and advance the early childhood field.