Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
One of my greatest privileges is being able to attend meetings of folks committed to the future of our kids. The first was an inspiring meeting of Street Saints, a faith-based peer to peer group making a positive and expanding impact on young people primarily focused in west Fresno. The second was the San Joaquin Valley Business Leader Summit on Early Care and Education. There is a growing community awareness that the K-12 system cannot successfully educate students if they have not received appropriate pre-school training either at home or in a more formal setting. A Chinese proverb sums it up this way: “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” Let us all be tree planters.
Economist and Nobel Prize Winner Explains ROI and Kids
Many have made the case for investing in young children. What we haven’t done is get strategic about how to do it to scale recognizing that the people most responsible for doing so are the parents. However, if they cannot or will not, communities must decide whether or not they will step up. An economics professor at the University of Chicago, James Heckman, decided to study the impacts of school readiness programs for children growing up in disadvantaged homes. He learned that our major economic and social problems—crime, teenage pregnancy, drop outs and poor health—are largely the result of low levels of social ability. Attentiveness, persistence and impulse control are essential skills that must be developed intentionally when role models who have mastered them are lacking. Neuroscience underscores this finding and emphasizes the importance of brain development ages 0 to 5. We have a lot of assets and committed people interested in filling this gap by changing the underlying conditions and meeting the needs of children today. We must align the tactics behind a shared strategy to succeed. “I’d rather pay now to open the door of opportunity for our kids than pay later to shut a jail door behind them.” Chief Jerry Dyer.
Often Overlooked Community Asset—Air National Guard (ANG) Fresno
You may have seen the planes fly overhead but not have given a thought to the implications. The National Guard is the oldest armed service in America, originally formed as a militia to protect the colonies. Since then the Guard has played a major role in every war. The base in Fresno uses local infrastructure, including the airport runways, and is one of the most cost effective bases in the US. Its mission is to provide air defense for California using the F-16 Fighting Falcon. They protect ports, nuclear plants, and airports from Mexico to Ukiah. The Guard also responds to state emergencies when called up by the Governor. During 911, the Fresno base responded 3 hours faster than any other base. The ANG provides nearly half of the Air Force’s tactical airlift support, combat communications, aero-medical evacuations and aerial refueling. It bears full responsibility for the air defense of the entire United States. Most of the members of live and work in Fresno. They participate in local philanthropic efforts, provide outstanding job opportunities and help build the local economy. To find out more, go to www.144fw.ang.af.mil. Thank you to Mike Budd, both for your service in the ANG and for providing the opportunity for us to tour the base and learn about the essential role the Guard plays locally, nationally and internationally.
Full Membership Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday, June 16 from 7:30 to 9:00 AM
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