Save Them When They Are Young

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

What happens when we invest time and resources in young kids? How does it impact their futures and the future of our nation? Legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group, Shake Shack) and child psychologist Emily Chinitz (Center for Child Health & Resiliency, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore) have answers on the latest episode of Add Passion and Stir. “Ages 0-5 years is a critical time in development of young children,” says Chinitz, who treats children with a variety of issues like anxiety, depression, trauma, parent-child relationship and attachment issues, and adjustment difficulties related to loss or other family/social stressors. “A lot can be done if we either prevent difficult things from happening, or support children and families when kids are still really young.” Chinitz has seen the benefits of early interventions like therapy, help with food insecurity, and giving parents new skills. “You don’t have to be fully defined by your experience,” she says.

Share Our Strength Board member Meyer uses both his business acumen and his passion for social justice to support causes like the No Kid Hungry campaign because he knows that investing in kids when they are young offers the best return on investment. “I am combining my love for food with making the right investments at the right time for people when they need it the most,” he says. His commitment to social justice comes from experience. “I have tried to show that doing the right thing is actually more profitable. Doing the right thing actually leads to more customers. Doing the right thing leads to attracting better employees… I want to work with people who care about things over and beyond the thing that they’re being paid to do. I believe that is going to lead to a better business.” Meyer, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards, so he must be doing something right.

Listen and learn about the importance of early child development in creating healthy children.

Resources and Mentions:

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Center for Child Health & Resiliency, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore

Located within the South Bronx Health Center, and provides comprehensive health care to children from infancy through 21 years of age. CCHR includes a special focus on early child development, starting with prenatal care for the mother and continuing through age 5 for the child. Services include innovative prenatal and well-baby care education for groups. We also recommend services that support and equip new, low-income parents with the nutrition and nurturing skills needed for children’s healthy development.

Union Square Hospitality Group

Union Square Hospitality Group has created some of New York’s most beloved restaurants, cafes, and bars, which offer outstanding food delivered with its signature warmth and hospitality. Founded by CEO Danny Meyer with the opening of Union Square Cafe in 1985, the company now extends beyond the walls of its eateries. In addition to creating Shake Shack, USHG offers operational consulting and runs a multifaceted catering and events business, Union Square Events. With operations in New York, Las Vegas, and Washington DC, USHG has long supported its communities by supporting hunger relief and civic organizations. USHG holds 28 James Beard Awards and numerous accolades for its distinctive style of hospitality.

Shake Shack

Sprouted from a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s first art installation. The cart was quite the success, with Shack fans lined up daily for three summers. In 2004, a permanent kiosk opened in the park: Shake Shack was born. This modern day “roadside” burger stand serves up the most delicious burgers, hot dogs, frozen custard, shakes, beer, wine and more. An instant neighborhood fixture, Shake Shack welcomed people from all over the city, country and world who gathered together to enjoy fresh, simple, high-quality versions of the classics in a majestic setting. Using the phrase, We Stand For Something Good® in everything we do. Shake Shack uses carefully sourced premium ingredients from like-minded purveyors; builds with thoughtful, well-crafted and responsible design for its place; and provides deep community support through donations, events and volunteering.

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