Dear Groundwork Team,
We are sad to be saying goodbye to Julia Hohner, our summer intern from John Carrol University, who returns to school to complete her masters degree in nonprofit management. Julia has been an incredible asset to the Groundwork team and will be greatly missed. In addition to her thoughtful and substantive contributions to the organization this summer, she leaves us with the following reflection which attests to her passion as a child advocate:
Over the past two months, I have had the opportunity to spend time working with and learning from Shannon and Lynanne during my internship at Groundwork Ohio. As an added bonus, I’ve also been living in Columbus with my sister, brother-in-law, and sweet 2-year-old niece Penelope during this time.
The opportunity to spend time with Penelope during such an important time in her development has been a privilege. Watching her grow, even during this short period of time, has been incredible—each day she learns new words, develops new skills, and is able to express herself in new and exciting ways. I was again reminded of this just the other day when she was playing with sunglasses and subtly mimicked the way I clean my glasses with the end of my shirt—one of many new skills she has picked up by observing me for a mere 6 weeks. She is lucky to have both of her parents engaging with her constantly and a high quality child care center to support her healthy development and education when they are working.
We know that the experiences a child has during the first few years of life—when over a million neural connections are being made every second—significantly impact the rest of their life. During this critical time, when kids are completely dependent on the adults around them, they rely on us to position them for success—a challenge that Groundwork Ohio has bravely assumed for our most at-risk Ohio kids.
As my time at Groundwork comes to a close, reflecting upon my new understanding of the complexities of Ohio’s early childhood education system, I am certain now more than ever that urgent action is required to give all Ohio kids the type of experience that Penelope gets every day. Whether you consider early childhood education from an economic, social, or moral viewpoint, the conclusion is the same—investing in quality early childhood education is worth it. I am grateful to have been a part of an organization that works day in and day out to ensure that Ohio’s kids receive the quality care and education they deserve. Penelope are I are grateful for Groundwork’s vision for children in Ohio (and for the best excuse to spend time in Columbus together!). I look forward to supporting this vision in my own work as I complete my master’s degree and beyond!
We are grateful to call Julia a member of the Groundwork team and wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors!