Want to play a giant (we’re talking 40-foot-long) game of Chutes & Ladders? If so, your chance comes this Saturday, April 13. MomsRising, The First 2000 Days Campaign, Children First/CIS, and Smart Start of Buncombe County will host the game in Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville as part of YMCA Healthy Kids Day. Details can be found below:
GIANT fun is headed to Buncombe County! On Saturday, April 13 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., parents and kids will be coming together at the YMCA Healthy Kids Day at Pack Square Park for a life-sized Chutes & Ladders game to spread the word that giving our kids a good start is not a game.
MomsRising, The First 2000 Days Campaign, Children First/CIS, and Smart Start of Buncombe County are hosting the game to remind our community and leaders that investing in kids means investing in NC’s future. According to Ron Brandford, Executive Director of Smart Start of Buncombe County, “If our communities are to flourish, then we must guarantee every opportunity for our youngest children to have a bright future.”
Based on the classic children’s board game, the forty-foot-long Chutes & Ladders board highlights the public investments that are essential to ensuring all of NC’s children get the strong start they need to succeed. These include:
• quality, affordable early learning programs such as Smart Start and NC Pre-K;
• child care subsidies that allow parents to work and contribute to the economy;
• quality public K-12 education;
• infant mortality prevention programs; and
• access to health care for children provided through programs such as Medicaid and NC Health Choice.
When: April 13 from 11 a.m.—5 p.m.
Where: YMCA Healthy Kids Day, Pack Square Park, downtown Asheville
What: A life-sized Chutes & Ladders game, crafts, hula hoops, bubbles, and much more
For more information, contact: Beth@momsrising.org or 919-323-6179
Along with playing the game, families will be invited to write notes sharing their thoughts on why investing in NC’s children matters, create their own mini-game pieces, and decorate baby onesies with messages and drawings about why building strong kids builds a strong North Carolina.
“These last few years have been tough on NC’s families, our communities, and our state’s economy. It’s essential that we come together to identify and focus our state’s efforts on investments that will make NC’s economy stronger, our workforce better prepared, and our state more attractive to businesses. Investing in our children is essential not only to bettering their futures, it is the key to our state’s future. Chutes & Ladders is a fun way to remind our communities of the difference these programs make ,” said Beth Messersmith, NC Campaign Director for MomsRising.
A snapshot of Buncombe County today shows:
• 14,389 children between birth and five years of age
• 26.9% of its children living in poverty, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
• Over half of all public school students in Buncombe County are on free/reduced lunch
• 5,000 children (35%) cared for in child care facilities.
• 75% of children in child care in Buncombe County are in the highest quality centers (4 or 5 stars), according to Smart Start of Buncombe County. The statewide percentage is 67%.
• There are 121 licensed child care businesses serving children in Buncombe County.
• 308 children being served in NC PreK classes in child care & Head Start Centers in 2013.
• An infant mortality rate of 7.6, close to the NC average of 7.2
• An education system that, between Asheville City and Buncombe County, has lost 289 education positions including 4 pre-K teachers, 71 K-12 teachers, 110 teachers’ assistants, and 15 instructional support staff due to budget cuts since 2008, according to the NC Department of Public Instruction.