Special to The Dallas Examiner
Educational First Steps, whose mission is to create and support high-quality early learning environments that ignite the minds of children from birth to age 5, has launched the inaugural Munson Lecture Series. The series is a three-part event scheduled for Nov. 10, Jan. 12 and March 31. Themed “Equity, Resilience and Independence,” it will feature nationally renowned keynote speakers that include former linebacker Emmanuel Acho, news anchor John Quinones and Dr. Wendy Mogel.
Acho is a Fox Sports Analyst on Speak for Yourself and host/producer of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, a web series about racism to drive open and uncomfortable dialogue. He is a former linebacker who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, then traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, where he spent most of his career. While in the NFL, he spent off-seasons at the University of Texas to earn his master’s degree in Sports Psychology. In 2016, he left the football field and picked up the microphone to begin his broadcast career. In 2018, he became the youngest national football analyst and was named a 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 Selection.
Quinones has emerged as one of the most inspiring keynotes in the speaking world today. His presentations focus on his odds-defying journey, celebrate the life-changing power of education, champion the Latino American Dream, and provide thought-provoking insights into human nature and behavior. His “never taking no for an answer” mindset took him from migrant farm work and poverty to more than 30 years at ABC News and the anchor desk at 20/20 and Primetime. His many achievements were recently recognized with honorary doctorate degrees from Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia and Utah Valley University.
Mogel is an internationally acclaimed psychologist, author and public speaker. She is the author of The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Raising Self-Reliant Children, The Blessing of a B Minus: Raising Resilient Teenagers and Voice Lessons for Parents. She completed an internship and post-doctoral fellowship in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She currently serves on the scientific advisory board of Parents Magazine and contributes articles to a variety of publications.
The events honor and are named for one of the nonprofit’s founders, David Munson Sr., a Dallas philanthropist and oil and gas investor. He co-founded EFS in 1990 with Sandra Estess and former Dallas ISD Superintendent Linus Wright and his wife.
“Change comes when we stand with one voice and a unified commitment,” said Vickie Allen, executive director at EFS. “Change comes only once we are dedicated to ensuring all children have equal access to a high-quality education. The Munson Series will help us achieve that goal.”
For over 30 years, EFS has been a source for hope and support for early childhood educators, partnering with child care centers in neighborhoods of greatest need across North Texas to provide high-quality early education. Too often, poverty, systemic racism, and a lack of community resources prevent many children from receiving the equal opportunity of a high-quality early childhood education. That opportunity’s impact can transform the trajectory of a child’s life socially, emotionally, economically and intellectually.
The series will present an opportunity for EFS to gather virtually with interested supporters from across the area and the country and raise funds and awareness in a new format. Efforts will have a direct effect for the more than 8,000 children EFS impacts every day through equitable early learning environments in over 100 independent early learning centers.
Series sponsorships are available now; unique corporate group opportunities are also available.
“By supporting this fundraiser,” Allen stressed, “you can help provide an educational experience that offers North Texas children an equal opportunity for success in life. Please join us.”
Sponsorship and ticket information is available at https://educationalfirststeps.org/munsonlectureseries.