Dreams and Opportunities for Children   

Every child deserves a legacy

 "One hundred years from now, it will not matter, what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child." Forest Witcraft

 The Facts

By age five, a child's brain has reached 95% of its adult size and is four times its size at birth. A toddler's brain has twice as many connections among its 100 billion neurons as the brain of an adult.

Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman has concluded that one-half of the achievement gap evident at the end of high school is present before children start kindergarten.

High-quality early childhood programs have been credited with reducing the likelihood of a child being held back a grade, needing special education services, dropping out of high school, and even becoming a teen parent and living in poverty.

The Initiative

The early childhood initiative announced by Gilmore Foundation seeks to improve the state of early childhood education in Monroe County , where too many children come to school unprepared to learn.

Preschool children do not need to be taught using the same methods and materials that are used with first and second graders. The challenge for parents, grandparents, preschool teachers, or childcare providers is to develop enjoyable, educational language activities that also engage and develop children's interests, social competencies, and emotional health. 

 “Many children simply do not have early opportunities to develop a love for language and reading. Not having those opportunities can have devastating effects on a child's success in school. For many children, being left behind does not begin in elementary school -- it begins in the years between the crib and the classroom.” 1

As an advocate of life-long learning in Mississippi , I propose significant reforms affecting early childhood education. A child who is exposed to letters, words, number and conversations will be more ready to learn, and a child who is not, will face sometimes insurmountable obstacles in learning. While the best place to receive this early childhood education is from loving parents who are aware of ways to foster a child’s positive development, we must recognize that the ideal is not always attainable or practical.”2

The initiative expects to reach over 3,000 children and their families the first year. Our goal is to give families the tools necessary to see that their child has the opportunity to succeed in the first major step in their life. It is a special day when a child enters the ‘ Big School ’. We want to make sure they are prepared for this day and the life that lies ahead of them.

The program brings a number of private and public partners together for a common cause- Giving our Children Hope, Dreams and Opportunities.


The Partners are:

 Gilmore Foundation, Inc.

Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University

Excel by Five


Phil Hardin Foundation

Amory School District

Aberdeen School District

Monroe County School District

Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center

Pioneer Community Hospital of Aberdeen