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September 24, 2007

United Way of Greater New Haven launches Born Learning Trail to promote early childhood learning

Sept. 24, 2007

Media Contact: Michelle Wade, 203.772.4202
Cell – 860.834.0128

(New Haven, Conn.)- On Sept. 12, 2007, Regional Water Authority employees in collaboration with United Way of Greater New Haven’s annual Days of Caring, dug holes and poured cement, posted signs, painted children’s games, and landscaped to erect the first Born Learning Trail in Connecticut at the Hamden Keefe Center on Pine Street.

Born Learning is a nation-wide public engagement campaign put together by United Way, the Ad Council, CIVITAS, and the Families and Work Institute that helps parents, grandparents, and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. Children are learning right from birth, and continue to learn through everyday moments and interactions. Their early years are the foundation for growth and development, and experiences they have each day with their parents and caregivers are very important. The Born Learning Trail is a great tool that supports this campaign.

“As a company with an active education and recreation program, the chance to be involved in the Born Learning Trail was a perfect fit,” said Donna DiGianvittorio, Human Resources Supervisor at the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority. Each year, several dozen employees volunteer to support United Way’s Day of Caring as well as contribute to the company’s annual campaign.

The Born Learning Trail is an outdoor activity path for parents and caregivers to walk through with their pre-schoolers to encourage them to talk, listen, read, think, imagine, and create. The Born Learning Trail includes ten interactive stations, each with a different activity such as encouraging parents and caregivers to follow their child’s lead, building the child’s confidence and curiosity; talking and singing to a child, teaching the child words and preparing him or her to read; and a hopscotch game because physical activity exercises the child’s body and using numbers helps the child learn to count.

“The Born Learning Trail is a set of fun activities that shows parents and caregivers easy, everyday ways to help a child develop problem solving, critical thinking, and reading skills. The Trail reinforces the message that parents play the most important role in laying the foundation for a child’s development,” said Jennifer Heath, United Way of Greater New Haven’s Vice President for Community Leadership. “We hope many families will take advantage of this fun and educational resource.”

United Way of Greater New Haven hopes to work with other community partners to build more trails around Greater New Haven in the future. For more information about Born Learning, please visit http://www.bornlearning.org/.
The Born Learning Trail at the Hamden Keefe Center is open to the public every day of the week except from 2-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday when child care is in session. Visit the Hamden Keefe Center at 11 Pine Street, Hamden to educate a child close to you.

About United Way:
United Way brings together the caring power of our community to create measurable, sustainable change and to improve lives. To do this we: help identify our region's greatest needs and best opportunities for change; raise dollars and invest those dollars for results; connect people to their caring through volunteer opportunities.

More information about United Way of Greater New Haven's community leadership and how you can help can be found at http://www.uwgnh.org/.

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