POINT PLEASANT —John Machir wants to emphasize the importance of early brain development and early intervention in cases of child abuse.
Machir is the director of Mason County’s Mountain State Healthy Families, which offers two programs with these very aims in mind.
The first project is aimed at helping parents and professionals in the local community understands how environment and approach in the first years of life are critical to brain “wiring”. The program, which is called Brain Under Construction Zone, comes under the heading of United Way’s Success by 6 Projects, and is offered though Mason County Family Resource Network.
Parents are usually introduced to the program through the local hospital, Machir said; home visits are available as an ongoing resource to teach parents to use everyday moments to help their babies’ brains grow in optimum health. Examples of such everyday developmental opportunities include rocking, holding, talking or singing to babies. All of these moments create spaces to strengthen the connection between parent and child, help strengthen brain development, and build parents’ confidence in their roles as early teachers.
The second project, called Pinwheels for Prevention, is a local chapter of a national organization which works to build awareness and provide education in the cause of preventing child abuse and neglect. The program, which is a fundraising endeavor, uses pinwheels as a symbol of childhood innocence. Proceeds are used in programs that strengthen families, and in policy efforts that prevent child abuse, Machir said.
The Mason County branch of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs has also been working to support these two programs by raising funds; the club recently donated two checks to Mason County Healthy Families for books and other educational materials.
For more information on both or either of these programs, contact John Machir at ((304) 857-0020.