State Representative Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) was chosen to attend a prestigious fellowship program that launches this week in Chicago. The Erikson Institute Fellows program draws fellows from across the state to explore the long-term benefits of early childhood experiences and discover how to best deliver needed solutions for improvement. The program will feature experts from across the nation on a variety of topics including the science of brain development, the effects of adverse childhood experiences, and Illinois’ early childhood system and childhood workforce. 

The goal of this program is to help shape public policy, and leave fellows with the best tools to systematically invoke change for Illinois. To do that, the week will not only prepare attendees to understand all the underlying issues that affect child development, but also create an understanding of the resources needed.

“With the significant challenges facing not just our state but our entire nation, I am excited to be part of this program to learn how I can make an impact in our movement toward positive change,” said Rep. Haas. “As a State Representative, I carry the weight of what we need to do to make Illinois a better, safer place where families and children can grow and thrive.”

One special aspect of the program includes ‘Service Day’ where fellows shadow and do the work of early childhood professionals in both home and center-based early care and educational programs located in Chicago. This includes opportunities to read to children, serve meals, engage with families, lead learning activities, and talk to staff to gain a first-hand perspective on resources, funding, staff compensation, and family needs.

Haas joins 19 other fellows at the program, which includes judges, doctors, researchers, and educators.