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This community of communicators and the Colorado Shared Message Bank is intended to be a tool to help guide the messages used in collateral, web content, reports, talking points or other communications intended to strengthen families in Colorado.

Communications professionals and other staff from nonprofit organizations, businesses, health care or any other community organization can feel confident that the messages promoted on this platform are grounded in research and framed to promote positive change. 

Be sure to share how YOUR community is utilizing the shared messaging by adding your information to the Messages in Action Map

The Colorado Shared Message Bank is the product of a collaborative effort of many partners joining forces through the Early Childhood Colorado Partnership (ECCP) to promote research-based frames and messages which have been proven to garner broad public support for issues connected to healthy early childhood development, the prevention of adversity, mitigation of toxic stress and promotion of resilience and strengthening families.

In 2020, as the ECCP dissolved, Illuminate Colorado, a statewide 501(c)3 organization dedicated to strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, stepped in to ensure that this critical resource for organizations continues to exist and grow into the future.

The Colorado Shared Message Bank is a critical tool in the toolbox to aid people in shifting community norms, perceptions and policy toward embracing the importance of investing in children and strengthening families and communities. 

Background Positioning Statement

Toxic stress occurs when children experience prolonged and significant adversity such as poverty, abuse, neglect or caregiver substance abuse without adequate adult support to buffer their experiences. Toxic stress can lead to health and learning problems because it hinders brain development, preventing children from realizing their potential and fully contributing to Colorado’s future. We must all work together to prevent toxic stress in children by supporting stable and nurturing relationships and environments.

Mission Statement

For Colorado to prosper, our kids must thrive. Therefore everyone has a role to play in building a solid foundation for Colorado’s kids.

Key Ideas Promote in the Shared Messaging Bank

Colorado prospers when our youngest children thrive because they are our future workers, leaders and community members. No matter where they live – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – children need high-quality experiences and loving relationships to support healthy development. Participation from everyone in the community will ensure our children’s well-being and the prosperity of Colorado’s civic, social and economic future.

We all face challenges in our lives when we could use extra support. When families have information and access to available local resources to meet basic needs, we strengthen the foundation for families and communities to thrive.

All families need support from the community to raise happy, healthy children. Services and policies that prevent abuse and neglect, support caregivers struggling with everyday needs, and provide parenting support and coaching help to strengthen families and ensure that children can achieve their potential.

Strong communities lead to strong families and help build resilience for children who experience adversity. When a community provides timely interventions and support, these positive experiences can help families manage stress and cope through tough times. Investing in programs and policies that support families to overcome and bounce back from life’s challenges enables children to achieve their potential and grow up to be good neighbors and productive community members.

Healthy brain development is a building process that begins before we are born. Positive experiences and loving relationships create a strong foundation that helps ensure that a child builds the skills necessary for a lifetime of strong mental health. Many children experience developmental delays. Connecting families to community supports and programs helps to ensure that these children get back on track. Investing in practices, policies and services that promote children’s healthy development, and support children who experience developmental challenges, ensures that children build the skills they need to be successful.

Humans are social creatures, and we’re happiest and healthiest when we regularly spend time with others. Close personal relationships as well as a sense of community are strongly linked with physical and mental well-being. Connecting with other people can reduce stress and help you remember others care about you.

Much is known about the importance of building connections among adults, and in particular parents, to improve the health of a community and strengthen families. Communities have a great influence in families’ lives. When parents don’t feel like they are part of a community and, in turn, feel isolated and unsupported, it should be a concern for all those looking to prevent child maltreatment and address the opioid epidemic, as well as those concerned with the economic well-being of Colorado. The cost of both social issues is great. The well-documented solution to addressing both issues lies in building social connections.

Visit the shared message bank to get key messages to help build social connections in your community. 

 

Metaphors to Support Key Messages

Brain Architecture

Brain Architecture

The story you’re telling…
Brain development is a lot like building a house. The basic architecture of the human brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early
  • Community Resources Strengthen Families
Serve and Return

Serve and Return

The story you’re telling…
Brains are built through back-and-forth interaction, much like a game of tennis, ping pong or volleyball. Healthy development occurs when young children “serve” through babbling, gestures or words, and adults “return” by getting in sync with the child.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early
Toxic Stress

Toxic Stress

The story you’re telling…
Chronic, severe stressors can cause a response that is toxic to the developing brain and has long-term effects on health and wellness. Supportive relationships can serve as a buffer against a toxic stress response.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early
Resilience Scale

Resilience Scale

The story you’re telling…
A positive outcome is like a scale tipped to one side. It can be influenced by counterbalancing weights and adjusting the balance point.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built
  • Community Resources Strengthen Families
Levelness

Levelness

The story you’re telling…
Just as the levelness of a table is what makes it functional, the mental health of children is what enables them to function well in all areas of life.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early
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