Your Child Can Thrive by Five, Tools For Growing Early Childhood Brains

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Community: Early Childhood BrainBox and Resource Fair
By Patti Jo Brooks, Contributing Writer

Rotary Club of Canby and Todos Juntos of Canby/Molalla have partnered together to bring local residents and neighboring communities a unique opportunity to explore early childhood development resources available in the area. Education and literacy, as well as maternal and child health, has always been one of Rotary’s primary focus areas. Last year’s president of Canby’s Rotary Club, Craig Johnson, was inspired by seven-year-old Molly Wright’s TED Talk: How Every Child Can Thrive by Five. Looking back on the resources and help he received with his own child, Craig was excited to collaborate with family resource advocates, Todos Juntos, on their “BrainBoxes” project. These boxes contain age-specific items ranging from infant to six years old, such as rings, blocks, toys, safety scissors, etc. to encourage hand-eye coordination and dexterity which helps pre-K children “grow their brain,” explains Craig Johnson.

Canby’s first-ever Early Childhood BrainBox and Resource Fair, a one-day event on Thursday, Sept. 14, will be held indoors at Clackamas County Event Center’s Horning Hall from 4:30 to 8 p.m. In addition to Todos Juntos, who will be handing out free BrainBoxes to pre-registered families, numerous community partners will be onsite to present the services they offer in support of early childhood development. Preschool leaders, Head Start and early intervention representatives will be among the community partners invited to share what they do in helping young children develop their brains and prepare for kindergarten.

Interaction between a caring adult and their small child has been established as important for brain development and emotional health, especially during the first five years of life. “I wanted to do something to support small kids,” Craig says. “Inviting Todos Juntos, finding a way to work together and learning about BrainBoxes, I got so excited.” He adds, “Collaboration is one of my core values.” Rotary is helping to purchase some of the boxes, and Todos Juntos will be present at the event to familiarize recipients with some ways to play with or utilize items in the boxes. Both English and Spanish versions are available, and Jovanna Leon, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, will be present at the Todos Juntos table along with Ravin Lopez, Youth and Family Program Manager of Molalla/Canby. “Once a family registers for a BrainBox,” explains Ravin, “they are automatically included in the program until their child ages out.” Guests will also be able to participate in family activities, win prizes, learn about additional early childhood development resources, sign up for services and register for any remaining BainBoxes.

If you’re in the area and you have a small child in your life, stop by the Early Childhood BrainBox and Resource Fair for an educational and fun-filled evening!

The Early Childhood BrainBox and Resource Fair is Sept. 14, located at Clackamas County Fairgrounds, Horning Hall, 694 N.E. Fourth Avenue, Canby. For details, contact Ravin Lopez at 503-719-0610 or