Having a child-friendly community is important to Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater (SBWT) whose mission is to have all children in Western Tidewater healthy and ready to learn when they enter school. What does it mean to be child friendly? Simply, it means to have a positive influence on the lives of children in our community.
It’s important to all of us because we all want the same thing – children healthy and ready to learn so they can succeed in school and in life. It’s no surprise that research shows that only about 1/3 of the factors affecting school success happen at school, while the other 2/3 are at home and in the community.
Isle of Wight and Southampton County Boards of Supervisors and Franklin City Council recently passed resolutions declaring our communities to be child friendly. SBWT wants to build on these child-friendly community resolutions by getting businesses involved with being child friendly.
Several businesses are already doing things that are child-friendly. Bronco Federal Credit Union in Franklin has a play station, children’s books and magazines. They have activities throughout the year such as Kid’s Day, Paint Your Pumpkin, Easter Bunny and Santa plus a Youth’s Savings Challenge. Bobby’s Muffler and Tire Center in Franklin and 7-11 in Courtland have a play area for children. Windsor Pharmacy in IOW County has an entire room devoted to children complete with bubble gum machine plus the pennies to purchase gum, a train, coloring books and crayons and many other toys. Neil Parsons, said his father, Bob, felt like a pharmacy is generally a scary place to go since it’s mostly when people are sick. He wanted a place where children could play and not be scared. These are just a few of the child-friendly businesses and their practices.
SBWT soon will be putting together packets of information on ways to be child-friendly. Businesses are the initial focus, but everyone can do something to be child friendly. One thing is very easy – smile and speak to children in stores and on the streets. It’s amazing how that smile can brighten their day – and yours.
SBWT will be sharing more information on child-friendly practices. If you would like to tell us what your business is doing, contact Anne Bryant at the United Way office. Phone number is 757-569-8929 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
----published in the Tidewater News April 21, 2013