GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Early childhood programs that stimulate the mind with music and games are at risk. The "MomsRising" campaign aims to change that, saying a child's future is anything but a game.
"We're moving backwards at a rapid pace, and we can't afford that. If we don't do something now, we don't get a do-over for our kids," said Beth Messersmith, the campaign director for "MomsRising" in North Carolina.
The campaign is using a 32 by 40-foot replica of the classic board game, Chutes and Ladders, to show the public the different types of programs available that will give children get a head start.
"The ladders are the investments in education, early learning, mortality prevention, and health care that help out kids get a good start in life. The chutes are the ways we are setting our kids back," said Messersmith.
North Carolina ranks 48th in the nation in education spending, state officials said. Every year, the budget gets smaller and smaller.
"The legislators meet on the budget every year, and every year, we don't know where our program stands," said Sheila Orth, the executive director of Martin/Pitt Partnership for Children.
"They're little sponges. My daughter can remember things that I don't remember. I see how much they learn and their ability to learn. We need to embrace that," said parent Leslie McCarlie.
A child has 2,000 days from birth to kindergarten. "MomsRising" organizers said they want to use that time to improve North Carolina's future.