Community Action Toward Children’s Health (CATCH) and United Way Success By 6 will co-host a business community luncheon on March 4, noon, at the Coast Capri Hotel.
The luncheon keynote speaker will be Paul Kershaw, who will talk about both how to save the B.C. business community $1 billion per year and how to grow the provincial economy by 20 per cent.
Kershaw, associate professor of the Human Early Learning Partnership of the University of British Columbia, said: “Supporting families with young children before they reach school is good for business in addition to being good for children and their caregivers.”
Right now one in four children in Central Okanagan arrive at kindergarten lacking some of the foundational skills they need to be successful in school and later in the workforce. This high vulnerability rate does not reflect parents who don’t care, Kershaw argues.
He says it reflects the slow pace with which Canadians have adapted our national vision to the new realities facing families with young children.
He says we may not like to admit it, but the average young household in B.C. must now cope with 25 per cent less income compared to 35 years ago, all the while housing costs have risen nearly 400 per cent.
The result is that families with young children are feeling an intergenerational squeeze, which is having a direct impact on children’s school readiness.
The same squeeze is costing the business community in terms of absenteeism, recruitment and retention.
Participants will learn how strategic investments in families with young children can provide a huge return on investment for the economy, and for society.
For more information on CATCH or this upcoming event, see www.catchcoalition.ca.