“Early childhood development is about
setting up your brain to succeed later in life.”
~ Jennifer Garner, Artist Ambassador for Save The Children ~
Jennifer Garner Uses Her Voice For Social Good
When Jennifer Garner found herself in a place, professionally, where her voice could be used for good, she quieted her mind and asked herself…
“What is authentic to me? What is something that I can speak to and that I believe in, and what am I not seeing as much of?”
And in that quiet space, in that stillness, she found her answer. Jennifer Garner realized she wanted to use her voice to help children growing up in rural America.
As Artist Ambassador for Save The Children, Jennifer Garner is now advocating for early education programs across the country. In addition to Jennifer Garner using her voice for increasing awareness, fundraising, and advocating for kids… she also spends time with mothers and children in need with Save The Children’s home visitation program.
Jennifer Garner and I were recently involved with Save The Children’s #FindTheWords campaign to help raise awareness about early childhood education for disadvantaged children living in poverty.
Did You Know…
– In the United States, 1 in 4 children lives in poverty and many of these children do not have a single book in the home. They are not read to and don’t have access to a pre-school education.
– By age 3, children from low income homes hear an average of 30 million fewer words than their peers — putting them at a disadvantage before they even reach school.
– Around the world, 1 in 2 children lives in poverty and 250 million children are either not in school or are in school and not learning — unable to read, write or count.
– Disadvantaged children without high-quality early education programs are 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime, 40% more likely to become a teen parent and 25% more likely to drop out of school.
This reality is mind-boggling and heart breaking. And yet, there is HOPE thanks to the wonderful and inspiring people working for Save The Children.
Part of my involvement in the #FindTheWords campaign included interviewing Jennifer Garner. I did this interview with Elizabeth Atalay – a powerful social good blogger who is on a mission to share global stories as a way to inspire action, insight, and cross-cultural understanding. You can read Elizabeth’s stories at WorldMomsBlog.com and Documama.org.
Here Are Insights From Our Interview with Jennifer Garner…
#1. TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF. With early education statistics for children living in poverty being so staggering, I asked Jennifer what advice she has for mothers that are struggling with how to best help their children engage with more words.
Her advice for mothers struggling with engaging their children with more words was “Take the pressure off yourself”.
#2. KEEP IT SIMPLE. During one of her first home visits, there was a young mom with an 11 month year old baby. The mom was trying to teach her baby to read and she was frustrated that he couldn’t make the sounds she wanted him to make. Jennifer Garner heard a Save The Children coordinator tell the mom “It is just great that you have a book out. You are doing a great job”. Jennifer talked about keeping things simple, like going back to Mother Goose and singing Twinkle, Twinkle.
She said… “It’s the simple stuff. It’s talking with your baby with connection, with touch, with your eyes, and with love.”
#3. ENCOURAGE MOMS. So many moms living in rural America are isolated, tired, and they don’t have mom friends to encourage them. So when Save the Children visits these moms once a week they not only bring books, they bring light, life, and encouragement for these moms and they show these moms how simple it is to talk to their babies. That encouragement, Jennifer Garner said, is priceless. When these moms are told “You’re doing a great job. Here’s what you can talk about with your baby. Here’s how you can narrate his day. You’re doing great! You’re doing great! You’re doing great!” Jennifer can see both the moms’ and the baby’s light turn on.
She told us… “Every time I leave one of those visits I think, Okay, they’re wrapped up in love right now and heading in the right direction.”
#4. BE PART OF MAKING THINGS BETTER. Jennifer Garner strongly believes the money we spend from birth to five goes so much farther than the money we would spend when a child is older and having trouble. Many children growing up in poverty are already a year and a half behind by the time they’re four.
Jennifer shared… “It’s so deeply unfair. The injustice of it hits me at my very core. I feel this drive to be a part of making it be better. We need to reach out to young moms and give them a leg up… so they can give their babies a leg up.”
#5. READ TO YOUR CHILDREN. For my final question, I asked Jennifer Garner what her favorite bedtime stories are to read to her three children. I loved her answer and her enthusiasm for children’s books.
“Oh my gosh, I love children’s books so much. For every age, it would be something different. Right now, for my oldest, we are reading James Herriot books aloud to each other. I read a page and then she reads a page. Right now we’re reading All Things Bright and Beautiful. It’s got some spicy language in there, but it’s British so it’s different enough that we can just laugh at it. It’s super fun to read about another place and time.
For my middle, we just read Charlotte’s Web. She’s really into Berenstain Bears. We go back and forth from a chapter book to smaller books every night. She likes to read a sentence at the top of every paragraph and that is fine with me. She just started kindergarten. She loves Cynthia Rylant, an author from West Virginia, so she’s one of my favorites too. We love the Cobble Street Cousins and Lighthouse Family. They’re really simple, little chapter books that are sweet and have a nice message. We also love anything in our house illustrated by Marla Frazee like Seven Silly Eaters, All the World, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, and Rollercoaster. We just love her stuff.
My little guy really does love Mother Goose, so Mother Goose tends to stay out, ready to be read at any time. We also love The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales. They’re just 20 little stories… and they are so cute. We never go anywhere without it. He’s also super into Caps for Sale.”
Click here to learn more about the #FindTheWords campaign.
Watch this video to learn more about Jennifer Garner’s involvement with Save The Children.