New Education Initiative Targets Parents And Babies

At two days old, Baby Mia has her life ahead of her, but mom Ashley Ramirez knows the time to start Mia on the road to success is now.

"I want my kids to not make the mistakes I did and be successful," Ramirez said.

In her hospital room at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, she watches the video at the heart of the new Growing Little Minds program.

Growing Little Minds, inspired by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and created by the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, is an initiative designed to encourage new parents to promote their child's brain development during the first 12 months of life. 

Rawlings and key hospital leaders gathered to raise awareness and inspire others to take action in a special news conference Thursday at Parkland.

"Use words with them, show them colors, have them count. Do those things that a lot of parents say will be once in school. It should be right at the beginning of their lives," Rawlings said.

The video can be played for any mother who delivers participating hospitals, including Parkland Health & Hospital System, Methodist Health System, Children's Health System, Cook Children's Health Care in Fort Worth, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and Medical City Children's Hospital.

It teaches parents ways to promote healthy brain development development during their baby's first year.

Recent studies point to the importance of infant brain development during the first 12 months of a child's life as being crucial in their growth and development. 

Natural interactions between young parents and their newborns have a huge impact on a child's mental and emotional progress. Such development will increase a child's chances for success in school, social activities and professional life. 

Rawlings sees the program as a tool to fight poverty.

Thirty-eight percent of children in Dallas live at or below the poverty level.

"We have a major issue in Dallas because of the amount poverty we have. Poverty is a generational issue. The answer to deal with that is education," Rawlings said.

You can watch the video by clicking here.

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