2019 Rogers Scholar and Harlan High School student Story Miller is hoping to make an impact on students for years to come. Miller spearheaded an outdoor interactive early learning trail at Huff Park, The Born Learning Trail, which will help parents, grandparents, and caregivers turn park excursions into fun learning moments.

Miller joined forces with the Harlan Independent Family Resource & Youth Services Center (FRYSC), the Harlan County Public Library, and the City of Harlan, to secure the trail signs, materials, and labor to bring this unique element to one of Harlan’s busiest parks.

“I am glad to have completed a project that will benefit the communities youth for years to come,” Miller said.

The Born Learning Trail is a series of learning activities that any adult can play with young children at Huff Park.  Based on the latest early childhood research and approved by national early learning experts through the United Way of America, the Born Learning Trail is designed to help adults interact with children to boost language and literacy development and to help caregivers understand how to best support early learning in outdoor everyday moments. There are 10 stations on the trail, each including activities such as shape recognition, physical challenges, counting, and rhyming.

“The trail promotes fun and games – important components of early childhood learning,” said Cecilia Adams, Harlan Independent FRYSC Coordinator.  “Research tells us children are literally ‘born learning.’ That means five years of education take place before they ever enter kindergarten.  We know that what happens in a child’s early years matters – for success in life and for school readiness.  And we want to help parents, grandparents, and caregivers use everyday outings to support that learning.”

After the parks reopen, families are encouraged to take their children to the Born Learning Trail to try out this free, fun activity that will add just another reason to visit Huff Park.

Each graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program is required to complete a community service project. For more information about Rogers Scholars, visit www.centeryouthprograms.com.