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Health

Red Wagon Kids Plan

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/redwagonki_871.mp3

A plan will be developed over the next several months to help young children in Springfield. KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.

The Mayor's Commission for Children will hold a kickoff meeting Tuesday night (11-5-05) to introduce a community-wide plan to address the needs of children 8 and under. The plan will be based on the America's Promise "5 Promises commitment to children.

"The 5 promises are caring adults, safe places, effective education, a healthy start and opportunities to help others."

Denise Bredfeldt is director of the Mayor's Commission for Children. She says what's being dubbed "the Red Wagon Kids Plan" will be modeled on the vision 20/20 long-range planning effort.

"The purpose of putting together the Red Wagon Kids Plan is trying to collect everybody around some important sectors in the community like faith and health and education, business and look for ways that we can support the 5 promises, which they've discovered through research that the more the kids experience the 5 promises, the more likely they'll be healthy and happy, be successful, stay in school and become productive citizens."

There will be six work groups: the ones that Bredfeldt mentioned: business, faith, health and education as well as service agencies and government and policy.

She says anyone is welcome to join a group.

"Preferably you would pick an area of your strength or your interest or passion, and they will meet several times during the course of the period from November until May of 2008, and in that time frame they'll look at best practices research that's out there, what we're already doing in the community that's working really well because what we've come to realize is we don't need lots of new programs, we need to really focus on the things that are working well in our community, and, through this, we'll come up with two or three big initiatives that we can hopefully kick off and start to chip away at some of the issues that we still have out there."

The goal is to develop two to three major initiatives each year over a 3-year time frame to address the "5 Promises."

The Red Wagon kickoff will be held Tuesday night at 7 in the Information Commons West at Ozarks Technical Community College. Anyone interested in taking part in the development of the community-wide plan is invited. For more information, call Denise at 864-1656.