Sadie Funk is the Executive Director of First3Years, an organization whose mission is to educate, advocate, and collaborate to support the healthy development of infants and toddlers.

Dallas Heroes Project: What led you to First3Years?

Sadie Funk: After my work in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, I knew I wanted to do non-profit work and stay close to the Latin community. I was hired to run a program that focuses on immigrant families, and while looking for professional development opportunities, I became addicted to learning more about brain development and dual generational impact. I came across First3Years to support my learning, and then soon after the organization was looking for a new Executive Director.

DHP: As an Executive Director of a non-profit, what does your day look like?

SF: My day never looks the same. I never turn down a meeting with anyone. I’m attending policy meetings on a systems building level. I’m meeting with CPS and childcare organizations to learn what they are seeing. I’m going to juvenile detention centers to meet with teen dads. I’m researching to bring national innovations local to Dallas. I’m fundraising, writing, and learning what is happening in our community.

DHP: Why is focusing on infant mental health so important to Dallas right now?

SF: When we think about what Dallas is facing, cycles of poverty, high rates of incarceration, being one of the richest and poorest cities all at once, the question of how  we create healthy communities for everyone starts at birth. Healthy brains and nervous systems, the strength and quality of relationships with parents and communities set the blue print for life.