While parents and families are important for a child’s development, communities play a key role, too. No family can do everything by itself. When communities come together to create healthy places where families can live, work and play, a child’s overall development is better supported.
Think of a child's development like weaving the strands of a rope. The first strand involves fostering healthy friendships and relationships. The second strand is intellectual, and involves doing things to stimulate children’s minds, like reading to them. The third strand involves physical development – helping kids develop healthy food and exercise habits, and staying away from poor choices, like alcohol and drugs. You don’t want a rope with just one strand. When you weave the strands together, you form a stronger rope. Communities and families can weave together social, emotional, intellectual and physical development to make kids healthy.
Imagine your community as a power grid with all of the places that kids can plug in. Are they in the right places? Healthy communities should have places for children to plug in outside the home that support social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Those can include:
- Parks and recreation facilities.
- After-school programs.
- Sports teams.
- Faith institutions.
At these places, other adults help shape and form a child’s development and character.
Our community is fortunate, as Cone Health has an exceptional network of providers and community partners dedicated to helping you in your family’s health care journey.
Kathy Colville is the healthy communities director for Cone Health. She received her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brown University, and master’s degrees in social work and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.