(Lansing) — Champions for America’s Future – Michigan (Champs-MI), a national bipartisan membership organization of athletes and coaches who have come together to make sure every child has the best chance to compete in life, paused in December to salute the leadership of state legislators with the 2014 “Mover & Shaker Award.”
Champs-MI executive committee member, Judi Brown Clarke, who is also a 1984 Olympic silver medalist and previous MSU Women’s Track & Field Coach, was joined by fellow executive committee member, Nolan Moody, a member of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health & Sports, and the former pitcher for both the Michigan State University Baseball Team and the Detroit Tiger Baseball Organization, to present the awards.
Brown Clarke said, “I personally know that teamwork and sticking to a task start in preschool. The ‘Mover and Shaker Award’ is a symbol of sticking to the task and to say ‘thank you’ to the legislators for their efforts to support and fund quality preschool for all eligible 4-year-olds in Michigan.”
Moody said, “This award is recognition of their leadership to ensure that at-risk 4-year-olds have access to high-quality preschool in Michigan. As an athlete and a member of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports, I know that high-quality preschool is a home run in terms of getting kids on track to success in school and beyond.”
In the past two years led by Governor Snyder, who also received the “Mover and Shaker Award,” Michigan lawmakers added $130 million to the Great Start Readiness Program, the state-funded preschool program, to ensure that all eligible 4-year-olds have access to high-quality preschool.
High-quality preschool drives the development of both academic and social skills. In addition to helping children learn vocabulary and early math skills, preschool can also help children learn social skills such as listening, sharing and working well with others – skills that are essential for athletic and academic success. Children who do not learn self-control and other behavioral skills early in life often exhibit disruptive behaviors that can lead to dropping out of school, trouble holding a job, or even violence and crime.