At their hilltop ranch overlooking Tomales Bay, Marcia Barinaga, a former science reporter, is raising a well-loved flock of sheep, while her husband Corey Goodman, an esteemed neuroscientist, grows his garden and greenhouse apace. They are devoted community members of West Marin and passionately committed to seeing children in West Marin thrive. For many years, they have given to the Scholarship Fund of the Inverness Garden Club, and without hesitation they became the first to invest in West Marin Fund’s early childhood equity initiative.
Corey grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, showing promise as a budding scientist even in his early school years. Marcia, grew up on the East Coast with a strong cultural identity and connection to her Basque roots. In their thoughtful approach to understanding equity in early childhood education, they’ve fundamentally distilled their own childhood experiences growing up inside a supportive community. Their parents intrinsically knew how important it was to encourage them; to provide them with vital facilitative educational nutrients and experiences.
“Your brain when you’re born is still forming,” notes Corey. “Neurons are still being born in your first few years, all those connections are being made—and that early period is critical.”
Both Corey and Marcia are also committed to community – which can mean many things depending on where you’re coming from. Marcia has a deep, emotional understanding of community responsibility and duty, and of what can be lost in just one generation. She is from a family of Basque sheep ranchers, Indigenous to the western end of the Pyrenees and is deeply connected to the challenges of retaining cultural ties. She recognizes that not speaking the predominant language in your country of residence can present a solid barrier to education. Many of the children entering pre-school in West Marin do not speak English, and one of the advantages of attending pre-school regularly is that these children are able to speak English by the time they go to Kindergarten.
In a homogenous school system, Latino children start off many paces behind the other children if they’re not able to bilingually communicate. A successful pre-school program nourishes their cultural identity while making sure they are able to effectively join the mainstream education system. Marcia and Corey see the immense potential in all children and are committed to level the playing field for children of families in West Marin that face multiple barriers, so they can have a first-rate start from the beginning and beyond, within a supportive community.
Because they believe deeply in the power of community, and want to do the most good with the resources they have, Corey and Marcia are generously and passionately ensuring educational equity in West Marin.
Article written by SARA CALVOSA OLSON