June 10, 2015, Denver, Colo. – The American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) announced a Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) Commitment to Action for its partnership with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center today at CGI America’s annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. The organizations will work together to provide early childhood training for teachers and service providers in underserved rural Native American communities. Both organizations are committed to raising both funds for the program and awareness about the challenges facing Native families regarding early learning and care opportunities.
Native American families living in remote, rural areas often have limited access to high-quality early childhood education for their children. This deficit is widened by other factors including underfunded education centers and programs, outdated learning resources, and lack of teacher preparation for those working with children in communities with high rates of poverty, substance abuse, youth suicide, and unemployment. Early childhood education centers serving Native communities need critical access to affordable local training options for their teachers and care providers in early learning instruction that honors tribal cultures and languages and fosters student success, student assessment, and curriculum development.
The College Fund, a nationally recognized non-profit organization providing scholarships and support for the nation’s 34 accredited tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which offers innovative, strength-based interventions and practices to equip families, caregivers, providers, and systems of care to successfully support all domains of children’s early learning and healthy development, will partner to train 150 early childhood care providers and educators at six TCUs to be selected in Michigan, North Dakota, and New Mexico. The program will impact more than 660 Native families and their children across six tribal nations. The College Fund and the Brazelton Touchpoints Center will collect and track data to understand the impact of the training on teachers and on the engagement with Native and rural families over time. Both organizations will share best practices in Native American and rural communities with other educators.
This CGI Commitment builds upon the College Fund’s successful earlier work training 371 early childhood teachers serving Native American communities. The work helped teachers create curriculum incorporating Native language and culture and to engage families in their children’s early childhood education. The earlier programs served 29 tribal nations and 326 children, of which at least 80% were living below the national poverty line.
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund said, “The most important role of tribal families is to appropriately socialize their children in cultural ways, in how to be a good relative, and with skills to lead prosperous, productive lives. Well-trained early childhood teachers and providers ensure that families especially parents have contemporary resources to strengthen traditional child-rearing practices and give children a solid foundation for better lives. The College Fund is so pleased that this commitment and our partnership with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center will allow us to significantly expand the number of trained early childhood education providers in our communities.”
“Nation building begins with babies, children, and the families and communities who raise them. American Indian/Alaska Native early childhood educators are building nations as they build babies’ brains. The Brazelton Touchpoints Center is honored to partner with the American Indian College Fund and its colleagues in tribal colleges and universities to support the development of the early childhood education workforce and a new generation of leaders who will ensure the promise of every child and family in tribal communities,” said Joshua D. Sparrow, MD, Director of Brazelton Touchpoints Center, President of Brazelton Touchpoints Foundation, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Part-time, Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Sparrow added, “We commit to honor their vibrant cultures’ sacred sciences that guide children’s learning and healthy development and to respect the purposeful behaviors that babies offer, starting at birth, to help their parents, teachers and communities learn to raise them. In this workforce development partnership, we will bring together children’s wisdom and the teachings of elders as the foundation for the next generation of American Indian/Alaska Native leaders in early education.”
About CGI America
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 400 commitments, which have improved the lives of nearly 1.4 million people.
CGI also convenes an Annual Meeting, which brings together global leaders to take action and create positive social change, CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI will also convene CGI Middle East & Africa, which will bring together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
About The Brazelton Touchpoints Center
The Brazelton Touchpoints Center was founded in 1996 by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. and colleagues and is based in the Division of Developmental Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. The vision of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center is that all children grow up to be adults who can cope with adversity, strengthen their communities, constructively participate in civic life, steward our planet’s resources, and nurture the next generation to be prepared to do the same. Together with families, providers and communities, the Brazelton Touchpoints Center develops and applies knowledge of early childhood development to practice and policy through professional and organizational development, evaluation, advocacy and awareness and serving as a resource for proven practices. The Brazelton Touchpoints Center is also home to the Office of Head Start National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement. Learn more at www.brazeltontouchpoints.org.
About the American Indian College Fund
The American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) is the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships for American Indian students. Founded in 1989, the College Fund has been “Educating the Mind and Spirit” of Native people for 25 years and provides an average of 6,000 scholarships annually. The College Fund also supports the nation’s 34 accredited tribal colleges and universities located on or near Indian reservations. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators. For more information, please visit www.collegefund.org.