In the Community

New Initiative Focuses on Youngest Residents

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation has a long history of nurturing and launching major initiatives to improve life for Hampton Roads residents. Its latest collaboration, Minus 9 to 5, emerged after a year of researching community needs and how best to join forces with other organizations to make a lasting impact in southeastern Virginia. This new initiative strives to build an early care and education system focused on the whole child from pre-natal care to kindergarten as well as their families.

Jane Elyce Glasgow, Ph.D. is executive director of Minus 9 to 5.

Minus 9 to 5 is coordinating resources through the region and making them easy to find and use by:

  • Working to reduce infant deaths by helping nearly 10 area organizations align messages about safe sleep for babies.
  • Creating a hub so childcare and early education providers can easily access training opportunities offered by 50+ area organizations.
  • Helping expand its listings of community resources and encourage families to use the free online database.

Leading the charge are 80-plus area experts who pinpoint challenges and opportunities and address them as part of a steering committee and six working groups that include Thriving Families, Early Learning and Development, Healthy Homes Healthy Children, Community Connections, Data and Knowledge Sharing, and Policy/Advocacy. These experts come from throughout the region and represent healthcare, education, social services, business and nonprofit sectors as well as parents. They brainstorm solutions to problems, shape Minus 9 to 5’s vision and use metrics to measure success.

Dr. Cynthia Romero
Cynthia Romero, M.D. likes sharing ideas and having common goals.
  • The community foundation provides startup funding and is temporarily housing Minus 9 to 5’s two staff members – executive director Jane Elyce Glasgow and program coordinator Beth Parker.
  • “The timing is perfect for this deliberate focus on pre-natal to children five years of age. We are preparing children to thrive in school and life,” says Cynthia Romero, M.D. of Virginia Beach, who co-chairs the Minus 9 to 5 Healthy Homes Healthy Children working group. Romero directs the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health at Eastern Virginia Medical School. She finds it “refreshing to share ideas and have common goals with like-minded, energetic and driven people” committed to the best for area children.
  • Mary Russo Riley of Chesapeake, co-chair of the Community Connections working group, looks forward to “all area children having access to quality childcare, reading on grade level in school and that any trauma children and their families face is lessened.” She counts on Minus 9 to 5 and the people and organizations it represents to make that happen.
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