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Celebrating Parents Day
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Yesterday, Sunday, July 28 was Parents’ Day! Designated by Congress in 1994, the fourth Sunday of July is the day each year that we celebrate parents in the United States. Parents are very important to our future because they are the ones raising our next generation of leaders. Here in South Carolina and across the globe, parents are working hard to be sure their children have a healthy start in life and access to all the early learning experiences their children need to thrive in school and in life.

As we prepare for the back-to-school season, I wanted to take a moment to thank parents for their daily work loving and supporting our children. On Parents’ Day and all days, parents have the awesome job of building little ones’ brains through reading, playing and singing together, and providing healthy meals and activities for the family. All of these activities will help our children thrive in school and life! Our babies are born with 100 billion neurons or brain cells. These cells connect through positive early life experiences with you -- developing a brain that is better prepared for success in Kindergarten and beyond!

As Bill and I marvel at how quickly Slade and Burch are growing up, we are thankful for time spent snuggling with a book, enjoying the excitement and challenge of family game night, and playing outdoors in our lovely community. We know these fun activities also help our boys prepare for school.

We also know that being ready for success in school starts even before babies are born, with a healthy pregnancy. I will be joining state and national leaders August 5 at an event organized by South Carolina First Steps to recognize a great new service for new moms and dads called text4baby.

Text4baby is the nation’s only free mobile service designed to deliver to expecting and new mothers important health and safety information. Simply text BABY (BEBE for Spanish) to 511411, and receive free text messages -- on healthy pregnancy signs, developmental milestones, nutrition and feeding, safety and more -- three times per week, timed to your due date or your child’s first birthday.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies runs the program nationwide, with partners such as the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Here in South Carolina, partners include doctors, hospitals, First Steps, DHEC, The Children’s Trust, the Riley Institute, and many others. I look forward to being a part of the statewide launch of text4baby in Columbia next week at Children’s Garden, a childcare center located next to the campus of Columbia College.

To all our moms, dads, aunts and uncles, grandparents and caregivers: I salute you for the work you do to raise happy, healthy, and cognitively prepared children. Keep up the good work, and Happy Parents’ Day!!