What does children’s wellbeing mean to you?

This post was written by Paul Cheh of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has launched the Children’s Wellbeing Initiative with Ashoka.

What does children’s wellbeing mean to you?

Sit back, take a deep breath and reflect on a moment during your childhood when you felt healthy, happy, and truly alive.

Where you were confident, thriving, supported and healthy.

What was happening?

Who was there?

What factors, people and circumstances helped make this memory a possibility?

If your childhood experience was anything like mine, it was not characterized by a single dimension of “health,” but a multifaceted and layered convergence of factors.

For me, it was playing soccer with friends during recess at school. It seemed like a routine thing at the time, and it was. But it was also an important developmental experience for me.

Through soccer, I learned teamwork and the joy and simplicity of carefree play. This was possible because of the environment that surrounded me: I had a supportive family, caring adults at school, a safe place to play, nutritious food, and lots of friends — the hallmarks of a healthy childhood. Today, I realize how fortunate I was to grow up under those conditions.

Investments in children at the earliest stages create the building blocks for lifelong health and resilience by providing children, families, educators, providers, and other caring adults with the ability to create the best possible environments for kids.

That’s why we are excited to partner with Ashoka to co-lead a Children’s Wellbeing Initiative designed to learn from, support and intentionally connect leading social entrepreneurs in this space. By learning from critical social innovations in the field and identifying the highest-impact change leaders to help further this mission, we hope to catalyze a movement for widespread systemic change and help build the foundation for communities of practice committed to a Culture of Health.

We are at an exciting time to help lift up and spur this growing movement around a holistic vision of children’s wellbeing. Strong and growing scientific evidence demonstrates the importance of social emotional development.

As leaders and champions for our nation’s children, we need you to step up and add your voice to this effort. Get engaged in the Children’s Wellbeing Initiative, share this info with your networks, and push the boundaries of your work, so that children and families across the country can continue to make more memorable experiences that can last a lifetime.

Over the next few months, Children’s Wellbeing will be highlighting promising solutions and sharing its findings on key paradigm shifts that have the potential to ensure every child grows up with wellbeing. We invite you to stay in touch by signing up for the Children’s Wellbeing newsletter and sharing your perspectives during a #ChildrensWellbeing TwitterChat on Wednesday, August 3rd from 1pm — 2pmEDT.

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