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      Push for early learning investment supported by local leaders

      Toddler reading at Salvation Army Cab Horse Commons Day Care Center in Syracuse.

      Congressman Dan Maffei joined early childhood advocates in Syracuse Monday morning to show support for President Obama's Early Learning Initiative, which calls for investments in early childhood education programs.

      The press conference was held at The Salvation Army Cab Horse Commons Day Care Center where Chandra Smith is the Director of Day Care Services.

      "We touch their lives, they touch ours too," says Smith.

      Congressman Maffei joined his former preschool teacher, Peter Knoblock, who now heads ACTS (Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse), to discuss the benefits of this program for underprivileged children .

      "In the long run, every issue we think about, creating jobs, keeping the economy strong, and keeping the country safe and secure, it's all dependent on the 4 year olds today," says Maffei.

      Research shows 75 % of brain growth and 85 % of intellect, personality and social skills develop before the age of five.

      With funding from the Early Learning Initiative, community based day-care programs can expand and provide more educational opportunities.

      "Consistent funding allows us to have more time with the child. They're not pulled in and out based on the parent losing their work," says Smith.

      It's an early investment in early learners who will one day be our future leaders.