"Success By Six" endeavors to involve community in early childhood development

Lawton_Based on a new report, the Sooner State is the fourth worst in the country for overall child well-being. The report measures everything from infant and teen death rates, to access to prenatal care, poverty levels, and how much is spent on welfare. But, despite the results of the report, there is one organization whose mission it is to give every child the best life possible.

"Success By Six" has been in Oklahoma for quite sometime. Bill Millet spoke on the program's behalf at Cameron University on Thursday. He has an interesting take on Childhood Development - he says the health of a child goes beyond families benefit - local businesses benefit too.

Although fourth worst in the country isn't something to be proud of, it may be just the wakeup call Oklahoma needs. While it's primarily a parent's responsibility to ensure the well-being of their child, the "Success By Six" program says responsibility also lays in the hands of the community. So, Bill Millet speaks to local businesses about why a child's success -even if the child is not their own - is important to them. "I guess the basic message is that quality early education is about more than education, it's very much an economic development issue," he says.

Millett says the United States stands at 8th in the world ranking percentage of students with college degrees, and 11th when in comes to those with high school degrees. Twenty years ago, the US was number one on both counts - a stark contrast. "Those young kids of Lawton and Comanche County in 2008, for better or worse, will be a substantial part of your workforce 20-25 years out," he says. "They need to be developed with the skills from early on in their lives."

It's "Success By Six's" mission to involve Oklahoma communities in the lives of the future of the state - children. "We want to empower parents to be the best that we can, best they can be, and then we want to encourage businesses and community leaders to get involved in early education," says Jane Mitchell with "Success By Six." She says there is a bright side, too. "Oklahoma is ranked actually number one in the nation in our commitment to our four-year-olds and Universal Pre-K."

For local businesses received awards on Thursday for their participation in childhood development - Friends of Lawton Library, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, and KSWO 7News.