On November 13, The Kaleidoscope Project hosted its fall event: Building Strong Kids. The event brought together local governmental leaders, school administrators, and childcare professionals at Marbles Kid’s Museum to explore the importance of creating spaces that help Wake County children see more positive futures.

Our guest speaker, Amy Leavner of Kaboom!, inspired guests with examples of her organization’s success. She discussed the importance of strategically designing playgrounds that accommodate communal play and stimulate learning. This simultaneously improves kids’ mental development, decreases stress, and facilitates hands-on learning with the local environment.  

After hearing from a national expert, the event spotlighted local voices to share how The Kaleidoscope Project is fostering collaboration within our community. The panel of local experts kicked off with Pam Hartley, a member of The Kaleidoscope Project Steering Committee and VP of Play for Marbles Kids Museum. Pam shared the Kaleidoscope Project’s five best practices, offering examples of each one in action within our community.

The remaining Kaleidoscope Project Steering Committee members shared key insights and takeaways from their individual areas of expertise.

  • Deborah Mugno of the Lucy Daniels Center discussed how children’s social and emotional well-being impacts the rest of their lives.
  • From Salvation Army’s Project CATCH, Jennifer Tisdale described the outcomes of trauma and toxic stress on children’s mental development.
  • Robin Moore of the Natural Learning Initiative demonstrated the importance of thoughtfully designing children’s spaces.
  • Wake County SmartStart’s Anna Troutman showed guests how policy change helps sustain work that has been done to ensure it continues to benefit our children.

Following a Q&A with the panel, a networking lunch allowed guests to make new connections, identify opportunities to collaborate, and explore potential partnerships. This spring, the collaboration will continue with a series of Kaleidoscope Connections events designed to bring together small groups of community members to explore ways to support the development of Wake County kids.