Strolling Thunder NJ Highlights Needs of Babies and Toddlers
Cecilia Zalkind, President & CEO of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, explains how the recent Strolling Thunder event in Trenton helped bring attention to what New Jersey's young children need to thrive and the importance of prioritizing prenatal care.
"State of Affairs is pleased to welcome Cecilia Zalkind, who is president and CEO of Advocates for Children of New Jersey. Cecilia, you've been with us many times, you love every time you are with us... I do. But this is a continuation of a conversation we've been having in connection to an initiative, a public awareness initiative, called Right from the Start NJ. You'll see the website that's coming up right as we speak. Go on the website, find out more information all about helping infants, toddlers, ZERO TO THREE, if you will... Why is it such a pressing issue? Well we know so much more now about how babies grow and develop, and how important those early years are. That's the time of the greatest brain development. A lot of things that happen in the future for good and bad are set in those early years. Yeah. You just... not too long ago... we're doing this right before the state budget is supposed to be struck... We hope... Last day of June, but last month... was it last month or earlier in June? Strolling... Rolling Thunder? Strolling Thunder was May 21 Strolling Thunder... Rolling... isn't that what the motorcycles... the other one? Yes. No, they're Strolling Thunder too. But this is Strolling... Okay, Strolling Thunder... This is a Think Babies national campaign, all part of it... courtesy of our great friends here at NJTV News, this is a clip from a story that... I think Andrew Schmertz did the story... a great story from NJTV News this sets up this walk, this demonstration, this message that's being delivered down in the Statehouse, and we'll come back and talk to Cecilia. Here we go. Based on the theory that bringing cute kids to a political rally is a good way to get attention, a coalition of state child advocacy groups stroll to the Capitol to call on lawmakers to improve child services. I think New Jersey is ahead of the country, in some areas. We have the best preschool program in the country, but it starts at age three. We have a family leave program but not a lot of families can access it. So what we feel is we're on a great pathway, we can make it much better... The event, Strolling Thunder, arranged by the group ZERO TO THREE is part of a nationwide campaign to highlight issues like child care, paid family leave, and services for expectant mothers. About a hundred and fifty of New Jersey's youngest came out with their moms and a few dads during a rather festive rally. Danelle Robinson will soon be a mother of three. I'm really advocating for..."