IMPACT: In the 1990s, writer/director/actor Reiner took up early-years children’s health as an issue along with well-placed allies such as Koop, the former surgeon general, and Gore, wife of the then-vice president. Roos, a former state assemblyman, approached Reiner after hearing the actor speak at the National Governors Association in 1997, and they jointly introduced Prop. 10. First Five spawned myriad health and welfare programs throughout California, most focused on preparing kids to enter kindergarten “school ready.” Although a compendium of other “first five” initiatives does not exist, a quick Google search nets several million citations, including programs at NYU, Yale, Boston Public Library, and the Benevolent Society in Australia.
EUREKA MOMENT: The Los Angeles Times reported that Reiner, son of Hollywood luminary Carl Reiner, first became interested in child development when his psychologist sister Annie suggested he explore in therapy issues from his own formative years. There he grew increasingly curious about the childhood factors that shape the adult—and the couch gave birth to a cause.
From the January February 2007 25 Brilliant California Ideas issue of California.