Producing stories on Early Brain Development Initiatives seemed immensely enticing from the moment I joined the Studer Community Institute in April. My first deep dive into the topic turned out way more rewarding than I even imagined.
The programs sound great, and research backs it all up, but meeting families that have actually benefited truly brings home how difference making these initiatives are.
We found some great examples in the Rogers and Pesce families. I’m so thankful they agreed to give their time to share their stories.
Denisha Rogers is an impressive mother. That was immediately clear when I saw her assiduously taking notes at a family outreach session run by SCI program Manager Reggie Dogan. Another clue was how well behaved her three kids were during the meeting. She shared with me the impact Reggie’s lessons have had on her parenting, including learning how to give her kids more love and attention. One of the most memorable stories she shared highlighted her 5-year-old son Ja’Zyin earning salutatorian of his pre-K class and how good it made her feel.
Frankie and Kristen Pesce made it clear how eager they were to share how much the initiatives have meant to them. The way they described how awestruck they were at Baptist Hospital after receiving an SCI Brain Bag and watching the video lesson provided shortly after their son Eddie was born oozed with gratitude. It was so cool to be able to use the photo they shared of Kristen’s beaming smile with a Brain Bag in one hand and her son in the other, taken from the hospital bed. I love how invested the Pesce’s are about using all resources available to maximize their children’s future.
Watch Early Brain Development Success Stories video!
Both families also are making the most of the Basics Insights text messaging service. How awesome for parents to receive valuable tips twice a week from the program developed by Harvard professor Dr. Ronald Ferguson. The specific examples of texts they used really highlighted the value of the program.
Making the experience of producing this video even more enriching was the impact it had at Light Up Learning, SCI’s biggest fundraising event. A big crowd of difference makers watched intently for six and a half minutes (a long time to focus in today’s world), breaking into applause towards the end (Ja’Zyin’s salutatorian moment did it). The subjects were there to watch too, and it was really special to see how the moms, Denisha and Kristen, seemed to bond over the experience.
SCI is all about making a difference in people’s lives and making our community better. The video is testimony that that’s exactly what’s happening. Getting to tell the story along with meeting some wonderful families is an experience I’ll cherish.
Written by SCI’s Chief Storyteller, Steve Nissim