Connected Together Lebanon County invites people who live or work in the Annville-Cleona School District area to a virtual town hall on November 17, 6:00pm to 7:30pm to learn about a new initiative, The Basics Lebanon Valley.  This is a free event sponsored by the United Way of Lebanon County. Interested persons are asked, but not required, to register on the United Way website, where they will also find the Zoom access link for the town hall.

“United Way is part of a team rolling out The Basics across the county. Annville was initially targeted as the first community for roll-out,” explained United Way CEO Brooke Smith, “but because the Annville community is really hurting right now, we wanted to offer this town hall to share something positive and hopeful for them to rally around.”

During 2020, Connected Together, the local trauma-informed community work group, positioned Lebanon County to become the first community in all of Pennsylvania to join 35 other localities in The Basics Learning Network (BLN). The BLN is the international community of organizations focused collectively on implementing and continuously improving methods of spreading The Basics Principles.

The Basics Principles are five early childhood caregiving tenets and include: 1) Maximize love, manage stress; 2) Talk, sing, and point; 3) Count, group, and compare; 4) Explore through movement and play; and 5) Read and discuss stories.

Mike Ritter, public education coordinator at DVI, who coordinates Connected Together, said “It sounds cliché to say that everybody has a part to play, but this really is a whole-community strategy. We’re not just talking about parents building cognitive skills of their own children. But how can each one of us engage with the children in our neighborhood in a way that builds and supports resilience and healthy families? The Basics gives us a blueprint for that.”

The Basics Lebanon Valley initiative has received initial funding support from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the amount of $10,000. Funding will be used primarily for branding and the creation of marketing materials for use throughout Annville. Additionally, funds will subsidize the participation of approximately 200 families in the Basics Insights text messaging service – a tool for caregivers to receive regular tips on using The Basics Principles.

About Connected Together

Informed by the BCR Pair of ACEs Tree Model, Connected Together strives to heal and prevent trauma by connecting community members to each other in meaningful, healthy relationships, both professional and personal. Our vision is: Kindness is a way of life.

To learn more:

About The Basics, Inc.

The Basics campaign started in Boston with the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University and the Black Philanthropy Fund using research showing that cognitive skill gaps between children from higher-income families and children from low-income families become very noticeable by age two. Birth to age two is a period of extraordinary brain development that sets the foundation for all future learning. So the campaign is grounded on the belief that equalizing opportunities for brain development during early childhood is critically important for long-term social, political, and economic vitality.

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