Decatur – For more than 30 years, “Baby TALK,” has helped families understand and educate their children.
Now its founder, Claudia Quigg, is stepping down as Executive Director to create more time to focus on her passion, children. What caught Quigg’s attention the most was the development of children at a young age.
“Right out of undergraduate school I taught Kindergarten, because I thought I’d like to be there at the beginning, and right away I realized I wasn’t at the beginning,” says Quigg. “I went back to graduate school and I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to learn more about how the experiences a child has in the earliest years of life impact his/her development for the rest of their life.”
“Baby TALK” runs nine local programs assisting at-risk families, it has also been replicated in 31 other states including throughout Illinois.
Quigg, says the inception of “Baby TALK” started with the idea of starting a library for an infant.
“We started with a very simple plan,” says Quigg. “I was the only employee and we went with to both hospitals to meet the new parents of babies who had been born within a day prior and to give them a book for their baby to start their babies’ home library.”
Quigg says the inspiration for her idea came from her own life.
“I had three children and realized it was the hardest job I’d ever done,” says Quigg. “I thought if I feel this way and I feel the need for support, other parents must feel the same.”
Quigg says the impact of “Baby TALK” is affecting many Decatur families throughout the years.
“This morning we did the math and realized that we have met 40,000 newborns and their families over the years,” says Quigg. “That’s a whole lot of kids who will be creating our future central Illinois society, so that’s pretty exciting.”
Quigg will be stepping down as Executive “Director of Baby TALK” but will still stay active in the organization. Quigg talks about what the future holds for her now.
“I am so looking forward to continuing to learn about young children and their families,” says Quigg. “I will continue to do all of my other jobs, that’s why I’m not really retiring but rather transitioning. I hope that the other projects I’m involved in give me a little more flexibility so I can travel a bit and spend time with family.”
There is currently a search for Quigg’s replacement. Any applicants should have achieved early childhood expertise, leadership experience, strategic planning skills, and significant skill in communication and collaboration. Quigg says she will help with the interviewing process to help choose the most suitable candidate.