MARQUETTE - Representatives from 13 local agencies converged on the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Services offices in Marquette Friday for training on how to enhance children's brain development.
The training was sponsored by the Marquette Breakfast Rotary Club, Noon Rotary of Marquette, Marquette West Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Munising, all of which provided a total of $5,000 to purchase 500 copies of The Brain Game, an 80 page book that teaches parents and caregivers how to enhance brain development in children.
The book also outlines specific, simple activities that can enhance brain development. The activities offer ways of touching, talking, singing and reading with babies from birth to age 3.
Susan Donnelly, a psychologist hailing from Calumet who lead Friday's training, said her husband, Bob Sharkey, who is also governor for the Rotary International District 6220, first became intrigued with the idea of bringing The Brain Game to local rotary clubs as a way to fulfill rotary's mission of community involvement.
"A number of different clubs really jumped on it," Donnelly said. "A part of the reason he brought it was that rotary is very interested in their communities, are interested in maternal health, are interested in education, they're interested in literacy, and as a wonderful way of connecting with new parents. The Brain Game really provides parents with a way to link brain development - and we know so much now about brain development - with caring for their baby."
The books will be distributed to all 13 agencies represented at Friday's training. Families in the Marquette, Sawyer, and Gwinn areas and in Alger County will be receiving books through Great Start to Quality; AMCAB/Early Headstart; Marquette County Health Department; YMCA Child Care, Marquette and Sawyer locations; Families First - Teaching Family Homes; Great Parents - Great Starts; Care Clinic; Early On, Department of Human Services; Parent Coalition; Great Start Collaborative; Marquette County Juvenile Court and Child & Family Services.
The Ishpeming/Negaunee Rotary Club has also partnered with Bell Hospital to purchase 300 copies of The Brain Game for families of babies born at Bell Hospital.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.