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Saturday, March 24 News

Boucher named 'Children's Champion'

State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, has received the Children's Champion award from the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for her efforts to improve life in Connecticut for all children.

An award ceremony took place at the YMCA Children's Center in Bethel.

"I was truly honored to be recognized at today's wonderful event," Boucher, whose district covers New Canaan, said. "Children are our future, and early childhood education and support programs are key to helping individuals reach their true potential throughout life. Over the years I have committed myself to initiating and supporting legislation that advances early childhood development, protects the health and well-being of young people, and promotes education at a young age. I thank the Early Childhood Alliance for all their work in support of our common goals and appreciate so deeply the award they have shared with me today."

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide membership and advocacy organization committed to improving outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security for children from birth to age 8. The organization's main goal is to ensure that all children in Connecticut will enter kindergarten healthy, eager to learn and ready for school success.

Also present at the award ceremony was Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker; Larry Craybas, Bethel Board of Education chairman; Samantha Dynowski, director of advocacy and outreach for the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance; and multiple representatives from the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut, including Marie Miszewski, president and CEO.

"It is an honor to host today's event recognizing our local champion for children's rights. Sen. Boucher is an important member of the Bethel community and has always fought for the needs of children across Connecticut," Miszewski said.

"The YMCA program is a great example of the best public-private partnership that invests taxpayers' money in an effective way. The return on investment in preschool programs for the most needy goes a long way in closing Connecticut's widest-in-the-nation achievement gap," Boucher said. "We now know that the greatest growth in learning and brain development occurs from birth to age 5. It is critical that we focus on early childhood and work toward the goal of having all our children enter our school on equal footing. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with advocates, the Children's Alliance, our private providers such as the YMCAs, town officials and my fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle on such vital policy initiatives."

Boucher received the Children's Champion award in 2013, 2012 and 2009. She is the Senate ranking member of the state Legislature's Education and Higher Education committees.