November 8, 2019

Pediatrician For President Educates & Activates Community

In October 2019, Pediatrician For President launched his campaign to educate, motivate, and activate supporters and community leaders on early childhood issues.


Are you passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of children in the United States of America? Consider supporting Pediatrician For President in his campaign to engage, entertain, and educate the community on the following concepts:

    • there is a national need to put a greater focus on Kids Health (and everything that impacts health);
    • science and evidence-based medicine is important and should guide our path; and
    • we could all spread more kindness and appreciate the kindness we receive.

Pediatrician For President is a project established by Kids Plus Pediatrics. While Dr. Todd Wolynn will be portraying the character of Pediatrician For President, Wolynn is not running for president.

About the Issues

Pediatrician For President launched his campaign on the following beliefs:

1. Significant changes and investments are needed in Kids Health.

    • Currently, the United States healthcare system is failing kids. “We need care – not coverage!”
    • Moms, dads, caregivers, and community health are suffering and must be addressed to support the healthy development and wellbeing of children.
    • We need meaningful Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) solutions.
    • Human dignity and respect must be given to nurture the best in people.

2. Science is good (not perfect) but continues to improve and is a key to guiding our path.

    • Research is necessary to continue to improve science and its guidance and requires significant support.
    • We must reaffirm what science indicates as fact and dispel myths.
    • Anti-science efforts must be combated and their ulterior motives to monetize, polarize, and politize must be exposed.

3. Kindness is abundant and renewable if we’re mindful and generous.

    • This is not a plea for civility. Rather, the campaign seeks to remind us to keep our hearts open.
    • The campaign will never suggest that people should not be angry. However, the campaign is rooted in a positive approach and with the intention to bring necessary change.
    • We are all human, we are all connected, and compassion is good. Compassion puts us on the path to bring change to resolve suffering.

Why Should You Support?

Pediatrician For President:

    • is completely aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policies and positions and will frequently direct and refer to AAP policies, statements, and resources;
    • is kind, passionate, and respectful: he will never sling mud, swear, or insult;
    • emulates Mister Rogers’ from his deep, true nurturing of his Congressional testimony combined with ‘Kid President’ matter-of-fact awesomeness;
    • and his superpowers are his Pediatrician’s desire to help kids and families, his trust of the community, and his drive to bring about positive change

The Plan

Pediatrician For President is a centrist campaign – similarly to how the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) achieves bi-partisan support with a “Put Kids First” agenda. The campaign believes that kids, science, and kindness are three issues that many community members are passionate about and are willing to stand behind to make the United States of America and the world a better place. Pediatrician For President will never attack, celebrate, or acknowledge any particular political party or candidate. Rather, he will stay focused on the issues while reminding everyone about what makes us human and connected.

Pediatricians, Pediatric Providers, and Pediatric Practices are some of the most trusted professions and organizations in the United States of America. While initial support may come from these groups, the campaign hopes families, friends, and their friends will rally behind this effort to better the lives of children and the community.

Follow the Campaign

Thus far, Pediatrician For President has stops planned in New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Denver, San Francisco, and more! In cities across the United States of America, the candidate will visit healthcare workers, universities, landmarks, and other key opportunities. In fact, he’ll even be shaking a lot of hands, holding babies, and taking selfies with fans. Don’t worry – he will be carrying Purell!

If you’re interested in following his progress, follow Pediatrician For President on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There, he will be sharing posts and photo updates about the campaign and his journey. Will you support his campaign to help improve kid’s health and wellbeing?


May 6, 2019

Vote School Board First! Fundraiser

Mingle with members of Vote School Board First! coalition organizations to learn more about why they are involved, what issues they care about most, and why you should care too!

Light appetizers will be provided. Cocktails will be available for purchase.

About the Fundraiser

Happening at Wigle Whiskey Distillery on Monday, May 6 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., this event is an opportunity to learn more about and donate to the Vote School Board First! 2019 campaign. A portion of all drinks and bottle sales will be donated.

Don’t like whiskey? Don’t worry. Visit their website to learn about their full spirits collection.

RSVP and More Information

To RSVP for free, visit the event page.

For more information, contact Graham at 412.697.1298, ext. 115 or

Share this flyer with your network.


March 15, 2019

Engaging Early Learners with Technology: Sharing Research and Best Practices


In this edWebinar, the presenters will discuss the best practices for technology use with young children (birth through age five) and their families. They will also discuss how to support early childhood educators in grades K-3 with effective technology strategies. Research on technology use in early childhood education from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Common Sense Media will provide the framework for this discussion. With digital devices becoming more readily available in school settings, the logistics of implementing technology in the classroom as a tool for learning must be examined in order to utilize emerging technology most effectively.


The edWebinar will also share insights from a roundtable facilitated by Hi5!, a kindergarten readiness and registration campaign in the Greater Pittsburgh Region. The roundtable served as a professional development and networking event for over 20 school districts to share best practices for how they are using technology to support the transition to kindergarten for students and families. The discussion included developmentally appropriate technology use across the early childhood continuum.


This presentation will be of interest to preK-3 teachers and school leaders. There will be time to get your questions answered at the end of the presentation. Be sure to view and share this event flyer (PDF) with your network.

For more information and registration, click here.


February 4, 2019

Pittsburgh Launching New Book Gifting Program

With support from The Benter Foundation, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration plans to launch a free book program for children from birth to age five. Tomorrow, Pittsburgh City Council will introduce legislation to accept $250,000 from the foundation, introducing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program to the city. Since starting in 1995, this program has sent more than 113 million books for free, to children in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The Role That Access Plays

Studies of the Imagination Library have discovered:

  • Parents believed their children were more interested in reading when receiving the books every month
  • Parents read aloud to their children more often
  • Children were excited when books arrived in their name
  • Positive views of the program transcended demographics and longer participation provided better outcomes

The City’s Role

The Imagination Library covers overhead costs, databases, monthly mailings, and a book selection committee. The City of Pittsburgh, as an affiliate of the Imagination Library, would cover the ongoing costs for mailing each book every month, as well as enrollment and promotional activities.

Once funding is approved, outreach and communication plans will be launched, as well as engaging with local organizations that work with young children and families.

Quotes from the Partnership

Tiffini Simoneaux, manager of the City’s Office of Early Childhood in Mayor Peduto’s Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment:

“Research shows that early literary experiences, including access to books in the home, are fundamental ingredients for academic success. This program will enable young children throughout the city to build a home library of up to 60 books.”

Bill Benter, president of The Benter Foundation:

“We’re pleased to partner with the City of Pittsburgh and other community allies to help children develop a lifelong love of reading. Having your own books at home unlocks a new world of learning and language that can help Pittsburgh’s children thrive.”

*Information provided by the City of Pittsburgh


January 29, 2019

Start Strong PA Hosts Statewide Campaign Launch in Harrisburg

On January 29, Start Strong PA hosted their official statewide campaign launch event at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.

What is Start Strong PA?

Guided by evidence-based research, the Start Strong PA campaign was launched to help ensure that every Pennsylvania infant and toddler starts off strong. By advocating for increased access to and affordability of high-quality child care programs, the campaign aims to support healthy childhood development, working families, and the Pennsylvania economy.

Speaking on behalf of the campaign, Jodi Askins, Executive Director of PennAEYC, stated:

“Infant-toddler brains make over a million neural connections every second – forming brain architecture for life. At no other time in a human’s life will the brain develop at this remarkable speed or with such intricacy. This is the foundation upon which all later learning, behavior, and health depend. That’s why we need Pennsylvanians to join us and help our infants and toddlers ‘start strong’!”

At the Launch

With approximately 75 early childhood advocates in attendance, including state legislators, professionals, and families with children in child care, the launch began with a complimentary coffee bar (made possible by Little Amps Coffee Roasters), pictures of legislators’ young children, and conversations on the important role that high-quality child care plays in the lives of our infants and toddlers.

A press conference was held later in the afternoon, featuring representatives from partner organizations, state legislators, administration, parents, and high-quality child care programs. Various early childhood education and care topics were highlighted, including issues of access, affordability, low wages, and a need for more high-quality early childhood staff.

Parent Lauren Bethea spoke about her experiences waiting for care for her daughter Lorraine:

“The weight of the world was on my shoulders until my child got into a high-quality program. Every young child like Lorraine deserves this opportunity. Waiting for space in a program until your child is 2, 3, or even older before enrollment is not an option for so many families.”

Deputy Secretary Suzann Morris spoke to her role as a mother and to her leadership role over current initiatives of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, sharing that work is underway to make early childhood programs more efficient such as program coordination in regional Early Learning Resource Centers.

Watch the full press conference here.

Quotes from Pennsylvania Legislators

At the press conference, state legislators spoke out on the following topics:

Senator Pat Browne, Co-Chair, Early Childhood Education Caucus

“This is the type of results-based thinking that’s necessary to maximize where the state spends its limited amount of discretionary revenue. These early learning programs have a proven track record of helping prevent at-risk young people from falling behind or dropping out of school. Looking long-term, young people who receive early learning assistance are more likely to become productive members of our community. By prioritizing spending on these vital programs it will save the Commonwealth long-term costs.”

Senator Jay Costa

“Paying [early childhood professionals] some of the lowest wages in the service industry is simply unacceptable and needs to change.”

Representative Mark Longietti, Co-Chair, Early Childhood Education Caucus

“Programs provide a safe and secure environment and teachers help children learn the “executive function” and self-regulation skills that are necessary for life success – from being able to pay attention, plan, and prioritize to recognizing, naming and controlling their emotions.”

Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver

“The state has a waiting list of over 4,300 kids for a subsidy and an average waiting time of 88 days as of November. And only one-third of children receiving subsidized care were in Keystone STAR 3 or 4 programs.”

How You Can Support

Help us inform and engage Pennsylvania policymakers on the changes necessary to increase access, affordability, and quality in infant/toddler child care programs and sign-on your support here or download, complete, and email this sign-on form to

For updates on the campaign, follow Start Strong PA on Facebook and Twitter.


For questions or to schedule an interview with campaign launch speakers or Start Strong PA partner organizations, please contact Lissa Geiger Shulman at 717.802.1881 or


November 16, 2018

NAEYC Invites ECE Professionals to #ProtectFamilies

In today’s world, each new day brings an onslaught of information, images, data, and stories. While immigrant families with young children may cycle in and out of the front pages, the need for early childhood educators from all backgrounds to stand together to protect and support them continues to capture our time and attention.

As an active member of the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign, NAEYC continues to stand against family separation, and to stand in opposition to the new proposed regulation on “public charge,” which they believe would punish parents and harm children. With stories of two-year-olds in court and tent cities on the border, NAEYC remains deeply concerned about what has happened and what will happen to the hundreds of children still separated from their families, as well as what will happen to the families yet to be detained.


Opportunities to Stay Informed and Advocate

Speak Up, Speak Out

If you believe in a world in which all young children can thrive and learn, our society must be dedicated to ensuring that they reach their full potential. This world does not include incarcerating children, separating them from their families, or forcing families to stop accessing critical services and supports because they are afraid. Rather, NAEYC understands and upholds the bonds between children and their families, and, as advocates, calls for individuals to speak up and out to defend those bonds.

Recognize the power of your voice and actions, and stay engaged as NAEYC members move forward on this and many other issues facing our children, families, and educators.

*Information provided by NAEYC*


October 30, 2018

PennAEYC and PACCA Host Start Strong PA Webinar

On November 1st, Pennsylvania Child Care Association and Pennsylvania Association for The Education of Young Children are hosting afternoon and evening webinars to discuss the priorities of the Start Strong PA campaign, the work that has been done so far, and how interested parties can become involved.

Take this opportunity to learn more about Start Strong PA and how this advocacy campaign works to expand access, increase quality, and support early care and educational professionals by seeking increased investments in child care. Register now to save your spot before the October 31 deadline.

These webinars will be facilitated by Jodi Askins, Executive Director of PennAEYC, and Diane Barber, Executive Director of PACCA. Both webinars will be recorded and posted to the PACCA and PennAEYC websites afterward.

See our event page.