Strong Starts for Children

In spring 2010, Everyday Democracy launched Strong Starts for Children, a New Mexico-based initiative that aimed to help communities work together for the success of all children. With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the initiative worked closely with five communities in New Mexico to help them find ways for all kinds of people to talk, work, and take action together on issues related to the success of all children from birth to eight.

As part of the initiative, Everyday Democracy:

  • helped communities build on what they were already doing,
    involving all kinds of people in talking about and taking action on creating success for all children.
  • provided resources and tools to sustain the kind of public participation that leads to equitable problem solving, policy change, and improved conditions in children’s lives, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

Read more about the background of the initiative.


Community Profiles


Stories from the Initiative

The time for children to learn is now
Lois Vermilya“We need to stop talking about children in the future tense, because their time to learn is now,” says Lois Vermilya, director of the University of New Mexico’s Family Development Program. She has used the dialogue to address early education issues in the Albuquerque, N.M., area.


Teen advocates for ending child homelessness emerge through film festival
Woman at a podium holding up a reportTeens in the Albuquerque, N.M. area are working to end child homelessness by giving the issue a familiar face. The film festival was an action idea that came out of the Strong Starts for Children project.


Taking action for future generations
Two young children playing with blocksHow can we make our communities a better place for children? See the progress five New Mexico communities have made to build an environment where children thrive.


Generation Justice: A youth perspective
A man getting interviewedYoung people involved in Generation Justice, a youth media project in Albuquerque, N.M., learn first-hand the importance of early childhood development through their participation in filming the dialogue-to-change programs in the Strong Starts for Children initiative.


Hundreds participate in Strong Starts for Children kick-off events
Group of children holding hands and runningEveryday Democracy is working closely with five groups in the greater Albuquerque area to help them find ways for all kinds of people to talk, work, and take action together on issues related to the success of all children from birth to eight.


Bridging youth and early childhood movements in New Mexico
Headshot of Roberta RaelRoberta Rael, project manager for the KUNM Youth Radio Project, discusses the importance of empowering youth through leadership roles and engaging them in early childhood development work.



Connecting community work to state policy
Martha McCoy presentingDialogue participants joined legislators and early childhood advocates in a policy forum designed to explore New Mexico's policy options and make recommendations to the Legislature on issues related to early childhood development.


Connecticut Civic Ambassadors are everyday people who care about and engage others in their communities by creating opportunities for civic participation that strengthens our state’s "civic health."

Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.