Why It Matters
Living in the Monadnock region can be wonderful. We’re blessed with natural beauty, a vibrant arts scene, a thriving college, excellent health centers — and of course, a world-class mountain.
But the good life here faces significant challenges. Over the last decade our region has lost a significant number of high-paying jobs – and many of the jobs that are available here do not pay livable wages. High school graduation rates are not where they should be and proficiency in math and reading is low. Homelessness is growing. And opioid addiction rates are skyrocketing.
These aren’t the only problems we face. Teen pregnancy rates and single-parent households in the Monadnock region are higher than the state average. So is child neglect and abuse.
Trends like these are serious threats to the future of our entire community. And if you love the Monadnock region, NOW is the time to stand up and do something to reverse these trends. The good news is, you CAN make a real difference. The key:
“Start small. Think big.”
With so many challenges facing our region, what is the single most effective thing we can do to reverse the negative trends that threaten our future?
Focus on the welfare of our youngest citizens — and their families.
Research shows that positive nurturing and learning experiences are vital for the future success of children. That’s because the neural circuits in the brain, which create the foundation for learning, behavior and health, are most receptive during infancy and early childhood. By the time a child is seven years old, these circuits have established patterns of intellectual and emotional responses that are resistant to change.
Factors such as poverty, parental neglect or depression, abuse, poor nutrition, and living in a high-stress environment can have toxic effects on young brains, leading to lifelong mental and behavioral problems.
The good news is that children’s brains are strengthened by healthy, positive early experiences. In a stable, nurturing environment, surrounded by attentive caregivers, children are better able to acquire the social, cognitive and language skills that are so vital for future success. Such children are far more likely to grow into healthy, happy responsible adults. They’re more likely to succeed in school and on the job – and to raise healthy families of their own.
In other words, if we want to be surrounded by great neighbors in a great community 20 years from now – and more – we need to lay the foundation today. It’s time to “Start small. Think big.”
Community Well-Being in the Monadnock Region
We encourage you to read this eye-opening report on the challenges and opportunities facing our community. This report was commissioned by Monadnock United Way, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies and makes a strong case for early intervention.Read the Report