By TAYLOR HARTZ
State Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin, Southington) was one of 26 legislators chosen as a recipient of the 2015 “Children’s Champions” Award.
The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, a statewide outreach and advocacy organization, has recognized legislators from across the state that work with promoters of early childhood education to impact legislation involving the state’s youth.
“Early childhood education is crucial to the development and success of our youth,” Aresimowicz said in a press release last week. “That is why I will continue to make early childhood education a priority issue, both at the Capitol and in our communities.”
Aresimowcz was honored on Sept. 10 at the Margaret C. Griffin Child Development Center in Southington, where 45 students ages 3 to 5 receive daily care and education.
“He is a person that we turn to if we have any kinds of problems,” said Carol Smith, director of the Griffin center. “He’s accessible. He’s thoughtful. He’s responsive. He’s always there.”
The majority leader was presented with a plaque naming him a “Children’s Champion” and an alphabet book made by the students at Griffin, given to him by three-year-old Salvatore Lodice and four-year-old Kayla Martin.
“It’s important to come here and see the kids throughout the session because you really need to stay focused on what you’re doing up there,” Aresimowcz said about his work at the capitol.
The representative was honored this year for his influence on maintaining programs and services that may have otherwise been cut in the biennium budget.
In Hartford, he and fellow honorees advocated for programs including Community Plans for Early Childhood, Husky A, Early Literacy, Parent Trust Fund and the Children’s Trust Fund, while supporting bills that give childhood educators additional schooling, promote safe sleeping for infants, and expand eligibility for School Readiness programs.
“His leadership in the House of Representatives has been critical to ensure that Connecticut proactively tackles the issues facing young children” said Merrill Gay, Executive Director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.