February 26, 2009. The Daily Progress.
Early childhood education would be the best focus for local interfaith group IMPACT this year in the Charlottesville-Albemarle County area, an education committee has found.
“There’s a lot of research indicating that early education changes a child for the rest of his life,” said Theresa Lynch, a member of the Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together, or IMPACT. “And the later you do an intervention, the more intervention you’re going to have to do.”
Education was the priority chosen by the group last year at its third Annual Assembly. Since then, a committee has been researching which facet of education the efforts should target.
Having thumbed through data and having met with more than 800 people — during which the achievement gap kept coming up as an issue — the committee will present its findings at a rally today.
“That’s what we were hearing from the listening process with the community,” IMPACT associate organizer Mandy Wrinkle said of the need for early education.
Brian Plum, the group’s lead organizer, said he expects about 650 people to show up at tonight’s event at 6:30 at Church of the Incarnation, 1465 Incarnation Drive. IMPACT, which comprises 30 congregations of multiple religions, has been credited with many area successes related to affordable housing and dental care for low-income, uninsured adults.
Lynch, who hails from Baltimore and worked in that city’s public school division, said many people in the Charlottesville area are enthusiastic about the progress that can be made in early childhood education.
“There’s really a lot of hope for the future here,” she said.