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BOARD MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Marilyn (Mindy) Stein
Editor’s Note: We’ve invited ZERO TO THREE Board Member, Mindy Stein, to share her perspectives and reflections with you. Mrs. Stein has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2010 and will be ending her tenure this year. You can learn more about her philanthropy and leadership on behalf of infants and children on her biography page on the ZERO TO THREE website.
What has it meant to you to be a member of ZERO TO THREE’S Board of Directors?
I had a unique opportunity as a philanthropist to learn from the experts in the field about early childhood development. Being involved with this prestigious board of Ph.D.s in psychiatry, psychology and anthropology, pediatricians, business leaders, and other professionals provided me with a deep understanding of the framework underlying the healthy development of children and their families. Their expertise influenced my philanthropy. We became more strategic in our grantmaking.
When asked “what is my passion?” with no hesitation, I quickly respond “my family.” To be part of a community of like-minded people who care deeply about young children and families has been stimulating and gratifying. To be able to provide babies and toddlers the best start in life is fulfilling. ZERO TO THREE is a leader as the “go-to” organization for guidance in this shared mission.
I also felt a responsibility to the professionals, parents, and policy makers who value ZERO TO THREE as this trusted and valued resource. Spreading the word and having access to this source was important. Most importantly I have strongly supported the leadership and staff who work diligently providing this knowledge and do the work of ZERO TO THREE.
It has been a privilege and honor to work together with the professionals in the field of early childhood and the champions for babies and toddlers. We shared our passions, concerns, and our hopes for young children and their families. Together we can make a difference. It is taking the collaborative efforts of the professionals, philanthropists, business community, and government to demonstrate and spread the best practice emerging from the work in early childhood.
What is happening at ZERO TO THREE right now that you are most excited about?
With the publication of the State of Babies Yearbook 2019, the Think Babies™ campaign became stronger. This State of Babies Yearbook provides for each state a review of how their babies are doing in three key areas: good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences. Leaving this yearbook with a congressman, senator or a staffer, during our congressional visits for Strolling Thunder™ was impactful, providing clear messaging and a call to action.
Two programs that are at the core of strengthening the health and well-being of young children and their families are HealthySteps and Safe Babies Court Team™ project. Both services have relied on scientific evidence to create these compelling programs.
As you observe the world around you, what is an issue affecting young children and their families that concerns you? How do you think Zero To Three can help?
It is important that childcare for our youngest members in society is considered a higher priority. Families need help to care for their children. The evidence is clear that children who participate in high quality programs during the early years benefit socially and academically. Childcare assistance for low-income families reaches fewer than 1 out of every 6 eligible children and continues to decline. 30 billion in wages is lost annually by working families who do not have access to affordable childcare.
Quality affordable childcare should be available to all children. The Child Care for Working Families Act introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) identities five action items including providing states with funding to invest in improving infant-toddler care. At our Strolling Thunder event, we highlighted this need during our congressional visits.
ZERO TO THREE continues to draw attention to families’ need for affordable infant-toddler education, in addition to supporting the professionals who work as infant-toddler educators through creating the ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators and providing learning opportunities to build the knowledge, skills, and competency of the infant-toddler educator work force.