HOUGHTON - Local residents joined statewide demonstrations of support for early childhood education Thursday night.
About 160 parents and children walked from the Ramada Inn in Hancock to the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton, where they played and enjoyed ice cream.
"The little guys came a long way," said Emilie Krznarich, director of the Copper Country Great Start Collaborative.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, Page Isaksson, Judy Isaksson, Daisy Isaksson and Katrina Carlson sit on the grass after a walk on behalf of early childhood programs Thursday. About 160 took part in the walk, part of statewide activities that included a rally of more than 4,000 people in Lansing.
The local rally was a way to participate for people who couldn't make the 500-mile trip to Lansing for the Star Power event, where 4,000 people rallied on the Capitol lawn, Krznarich said.
"These are our future workers in the state, they're our future moms, they're our future dads. What we do for them now is going to help our state in the future," she said.
This is the fifth year for the statewide event. In addition to Great Start, Thursday night's event included representatives from BHK Child Development, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, Copper Country Mental Health and the Copper Country Intermediate School District.
"I think that it's important for children and families to have programs that support them and their needs, and their growth," said Katrina Carlson, an early-on service provider with the CCISD.
Krznarich was thrilled with the strong turnout.
"They want our community to recognize the importance of early childhood programs and supporting our children and families," she said.