Carbon County officials recognize the importance of caring for young children.

To prove the point, the county commissioners' adopted a proclamation making April 10-16, "Week of The Young Child."

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, read the proclamation before the board presented it to Evalynn Kuehner, early care and education community engagement coordinator for Lehigh Carbon Community College.

The proclamation states, "Carbon County is blessed by its population of young children, who are an integral and aspiring part of the culture and future of Carbon County ... Carbon County recognizes the rights and needs of young children and their families and the early childhood programs and services that are necessary to meet those needs ... Carbon County acknowledges that the early childhood years lay the foundation for children's success in school and later life.

"Everyone, as citizens of a community, state and nation has a role to play in making young children successful and healthy as they mature ... The Carbon County Early Care and Education Community Engagement Group and other local organizations, in conjunction with the National Association for the education of Young Children are celebrating April as Month of The Young Child, we should take this time to honor the importance of young children, and recognize those that support and strengthen the needs of young children year-round."

In accepting the proclamation, Kuehner thanked the board for its support of the early childhood programs in the county.

"Early education quality care is the building blocks for our children and our future," she said. "Our learning begins at the birth of the children, so we work at getting all the providers together, helping the educators get the information they need. Everyone works together for the fulfillment of our children's futures. The investment in today's children is an investment in our county and the future of Pennsylvania."

She noted that the child services in Carbon County work "hand-in-hand" to help children and families get the best programs possible and build strong relationships.

Following the presentation, members of various county children organizations introduced themselves and thanked the board for supporting the cause.

Jeanne Miller, co-chair of the Carbon County Child and Family Collaborative and director of the SHINE After-school program, said the proclamation stresses the responsibility "we have to work with our young children and families as educators."

"As we go through these tough times, it's really important to keep that in mind and with working with the county it has been so exciting to put together the initiatives we have piece by piece, program by program, person by person and we're getting incredible results and I hope and pray we continue those results," Miller said.

Barbara Conway, superintendent of Jim Thorpe School District and a member of the Carbon County Child and Family Collaborative, added, that Jim Thorpe School District had the honor and privilege to house the Right From The Start program, a program that starts at the child's birth and goes to age 5.

"Very, very, very, happy that these ladies (Kuehner and Miller) are here and I would like to acknowledge the hard work that they do with the youngest citizens of Carbon County," she said.

Conway also thanked the commissioners for their support of the schools and programs in the county.

"In this day and age, it is even more appreciated than ever."

Bill Richards, office staff for state Sen. John Yudichak (D-14), also announced that the senator supports these initiatives and will help in any way he can.

Commissioners O'Gurek, Wayne Nothstein and Charles Getz then thanked the agencies present for their dedication to the children of the county.

Nothstein, who also co-chairs the Carbon County Child and Family Collaborative, said, "I don't think people realize how committed you really are to what you do. Your enthusiasm, your time, and effort that you put in goes way beyond what a normal person really does in their everyday lives."

He thanked everyone and the Jim Thorpe School District for the support of the programs.

Getz echoed Nothstein's thoughts, adding that he remembers when Miller began her work in Carbon County. He thanked her for all she has done over the last 11 years.

The Week of The Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the world's largest early childhood education association.

NAEYC established the week in 1971 to bring attention to the needs of children from birth through age 8, when the foundation for success in school and in life is formed, and to recognize the early childhood education programs that help meet those needs.