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In the news...


“In the news” is our newest blog category and will periodically take a look at what the media is saying about the things that concern DBFA members.


Mutual ‘Attraction’

A recent column in The Daily Record talked about the mayor’s goal to attract 10,000 families to Baltimore over the next 10 years. 

The column, written by Betsy Nelson, President of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, referenced a study conducted by Paul Brody of the Goldseker Foundation, one of DBFA’s founding partners.

In addition to looking at how Baltimore has changed over the past ten years, the study suggests that in order to attract new families to our city, greater attention must be paid not to those neighborhoods that are stable and attractive nor seriously deteriorated but rather those that lie somewhere in-between.

The thinking goes that the former are already attracting families on their own and the latter need long-term intervention to make them more attractive, whereas the neighborhoods in the middle have all the ingredients necessary right now to be stable and attractive but simply aren’t.  If the city’s leaders, community organizations and corporations that do business in those neighborhoods were to market them more aggressively, the study suggests, they could be looking at a major influx of new families into those areas.

DBFA has long held the belief that attracting and retaining families is a key to Baltimore’s future and we’ve been working towards that goal since our inception in 2008.  This story is a great validation for us that we are on the right path and we look forward to continuing our work in this area.


Gooey Science?


The infamous “Marshmallow Test” was back in the news recently, with features on CBS This Morning among others as well as a host of articles from news organizations around the world detailing a study touting new benefits linked to participants’ health 30 years after the fact.

A quick review:  Back in 1972, a psychologist named Walter Mischel conducted a behavioral experiment with children between the ages of 4-6.  They were placed in a room otherwise free of distractions and shown a marshmallow (or a different treat of their choosing), and then told they could eat it.  They were also told, however, that if they waited to eat it then they could have two of them.  The catch was they weren’t told how long they had to wait.  (It ended up being around 15 minutes, according to various reports.)

Previous follow-up studies have shown that those children who demonstrated the concept of “delayed gratification” by successfully holding out (around 200 out of more than 650 tested) and getting the second treat ended up being more confident socially while doing better in school than their peers who did not.

According to a new study initiated 10 years ago and recently published in the August 16th issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, improved school and social performance were not the only benefits associated with delayed gratification.  Among the 164 participants – now in their mid 30’s –  who responded back in 2002 and 2003, on average they were shown to have a lower Body Mass Index than that of the national adult average.  And the longer they held out on the marshmallow test as a child, the lower their BWI was as an adult.   Overall, results showed 24 percent of respondents were considered overweight (compared to 34 percent nationally) and only nine percent were considered obese (also compared to 34 percent nationally).

The study attributes those results to the belief that the ability to exhibit delayed gratification as a child leads to the ability to self-regulate as an adult.  The latter comes into play health-wise when it comes to food choices, portion control and other strategies designed to regulate caloric intake. 

 Pretty interesting stuff…

If you’d like to view the full report, click here


‘Simon Says’ to play more games

A recent article in the New York Times talked about how research is showing that playing games such as “Simon Says”, “Red Light, Green Light” and “Freeze”  at a young age is a better way to improve long-term school performance than, say, practicing flash cards or early reading.

One particular study by Oregon State University that tracked children from age four to age 25 showed that the greatest predictor of whether or not they completed college was their ability to pay attention and complete the tasks assigned to them during those and similar-themed games.

The key is developing focus and self control, according to the article, which also mentions a correlation between children ages 3-6 who do well in “Simon Says” – type games and higher math and reading scores.

Seeing as how my four-year-old and I just spent yesterday’s homework session practicing both flash cards AND reading, I think we’ll head outside today for a little “Red Light/Green Light.”

There’s no law against doing both, right??? 

Patrick Gutierrez is DBFA's Director of Communications and always does what Simon says...

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