Mariel Saez, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - This evening, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) was awarded the Champions for Children Award from Bright Beginnings in recognition of his commitment to the health and welfare of children and families. Below are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you very much for this award, which I am proud to share with my colleagues – all of whom are truly ‘champions for children’ in Congress.
“It ought to be unacceptable for any child in America to experience the plagues of hunger, homelessness, and fear of violence. That’s why the work you do at Bright Beginnings is so critical. You provide not only a place for our youngest citizens to learn and prepare for kindergarten but also a place where others believe in them and instill hope.
“As Americans we have a responsibility to protect and nurture the next generation, that all our children may have a fair shot at the American Dream. In Maryland, we’ve made a serious commitment to early childhood education and social services, with the goal of closing the gap that all too often means kindergarteners from low-income families are already behind.
“‘Judy Centers’ across our state, named in memory of my wife, who made this the focus of her career, serve as a ‘one-stop shop’ for a range of educational and social services for low-income children and their families. These centers prove that a bright beginning for a child can lead to a brighter future. According to a study by the Maryland State Department of Education, 86% of children who participated in Judy Center programs were fully prepared for kindergarten. This is something Marylanders are proud of – and something I will continue to work towards implementing across the country and here in the district.
“I thank you again for this award and for all the important work Bright Beginnings performs here in our nation’s capital and the lives you enhance and transform each day.”