United 4 Children Announces Networking Event Keynote Speakers

Building the Preschool to Promise Pipeline Conference and Networking Event to bring educators, community together

SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI (July 2022) – At the conclusion of United 4 Children’s annual Building the Preschool to Promise Pipeline Conference in August, a networking event will feature two keynote speakers: St. Louis City Treasurer Adam Layne and Carmen Ward, Becomingcarmen LLC.

“We are thrilled to have the perspective and passion of these two incredible childhood champions,” said United 4 Children Executive Director Deanna Finch.

Treasurer Layne was appointed in April of 2021 after many came to know him from his service on the St. Louis School Board. During his time on the Board of Education, Treasurer Layne focused on equity while advocating for every school to be a quality school. He created and chaired the Standing Committee on Budget Equity & Transparency. Treasurer Layne originally joined the Treasurer’s Office as the Deputy Chief of Staff – where he led projects that were crucial during the economic challenges of the pandemic.

A Boston, MA native, Treasurer Layne started his career in 2011 as a high school math teacher in St. Louis Public Schools. Then, he launched, developed, and directed education access programs at InspireSTL before becoming an independent consultant. He also launched The Young Griot Society, a nonprofit program that seeks to increase youth literacy through creative writing.

“To build a preschool to promise pipeline, you’ve got to start early, and start with our most valuable asset as a city…our children. Every decision we make as stakeholders of our city, should also be made as stewards, strategically focused to empower the future of our students by providing a quality foundation in financial education and literacy,” said Treasurer Layne.

Carmen Ward, a St. Louis native, earned a Double Bachelor Degree from Western Illinois University in Sociology and Law Enforcement Justice Administration. She has always believed she was meant to help shift the paradigm of her community. For Ward, collaboration and holistic resources are crucial to the upward mobility of a community and its people. That in mind, she has been building her own business Becomingcarmen LLC and aspires to start a nonprofit to support her region that she believes lives in silos by design.

Ward said United 4 Children’s conference gave her time to reflect on the preschool to promise pipeline. She said, “I was honored that I finally got an opportunity to recall the promises that I made to my son and his future. Before this event I had forgotten about the promises and the stumbling blocks from Paul’s Pre-k to his promise.”

United 4 Children’s annual conference aims to disrupt the preschool to prison pipeline by providing education and resources needed to build equity in childhood education. The conference has traditionally been geared toward solely childhood educators in the region. However, this year’s conference also will be open to all community members interested in learning more about early childhood education’s key role in building a promising future for our community.

At the conclusion of the conference on Saturday, August 20 United 4 Children will host a networking event at the Schlafly Tap Room in Downtown St. Louis. That’s where both keynote speakers will take the stage to share a little about why they are passionate about building the preschool to promise pipeline for our region’s children. To learn more, visit United4Children.org/BPPP.

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About United 4 Children: United 4 Children believes that all children deserve a strong foundation to thrive regardless of race, zip code, or ability.  We meet caregivers where they are, assess, train, coach, and support them with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that children feel safe, are nourished, and are nurtured with social-emotional and inclusive services. United 4 Children strives to meet community needs where other resources do not exist.

Media Contact: Megan Mansouri, United 4 Children marketing and advancement lead | Mansourim@united4children.org

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