Thursday, September 20, 2012

Devastating Cuts on the Horizon for Our Littlest Learners

Like most parents, for me, September signals the end of the summer and getting back into the
swing of things. And while we’re checking homework, packing school lunches, and going to
school open houses, Members of Congress are getting back to work too, talking to constituents
and other Congressmen and women to figure out priorities.

One big issue looms: the national budget. Unless Congress finds a solution to our nation’s debt
problem by Jan. 1, there will be across-the-board cuts to all federal programs. This is bad news.
In Washington State, an all-cuts approach would mean programs like Working Connections
Child Care, a program that provides childcare to low-income Washington parents and is mainly
funded by federal money, would be cut. A cut to programs like Working Connections Child Care
would be a devastating blow to families like mine who depend on it in order to work or go to
school and create a better future for our children. Also on the chopping block is Head Start. Head Start is a vital preschool program to children of low income families, and those with disabilities. 

My child, who was found to need special education services when she was 3, was able to have access to Head Start. After 1.5 years in the program she started kindergarten with no need for special education services.
The comprehensive, whole-child preschool approach made a tremendous difference in the life of my
child and thousands like her. However, many children who need early learning don’t have access to it. If
Congress doesn’t find a solution, 1,400 kids in Washington state would be cut from Head Start. It would
be detrimental to the future of the children in our lives.

We need to continue to invest in our families and littlest learners. Let’s stand together and
tell Congress we cannot afford across-the-board cuts. Contact your U.S. representative and
senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Let them know a budget solution
by Jan. 1 is the only way to avoid shortchanging our children with unfair cuts to programs that
really work. Demand their action now to support our kids’ success.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hands On Advocacy

As one of the 3 hats I wear for a job, being a Coordinator for Parents United is one of them. I'm very lucky, that all 3 of my jobs mesh so well together. I work with Parents and get them to stand up for things they believe in around Early Learning especially, but other issues as well. Advocacy is what I do!!

My best friend and partner in crime, Kylee Allen, is a Coordinator with me of Parents United. We have a lot of fun... And we were really wet!

Parents United is an opportunity for parents across the state to come together to learn more about state policies affecting children and families and to take action. Parents United convenes training's and assists parents in learning how the legislative process works, and what they can do to be a part of it. We held our first HANDS ON ADVOCACY TRAINING on Monday at the Capitol. It was a huge success!

We were joined by about 20 parents and 8 kids from across Washington State. We started the morning with introductions and getting familiar with the Capitol map. We then took a tour of the Legislative Building and learned history and facts about the building and the Democratic Process.  Each parent had help figuring out who their legislators are and found the location of each of their offices. We stopped in to leave notes to their legislators around issues such as Apple Health for Kids, Working Connections, TANF, ECEAP, Charter Schools and any other issues they felt were important to them. 

We joined in with the Revenue Coalitions Rally with SEIU 925, and many other organizations calling for Revenue and Accountability. We think this was the kids' favorite part; dancing to music and having their pictures taken with a giant balloon of the Earth. 

We ended our day by attending a hearing in the Senate for WAKids, (The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) helps ensure that children in Washington get a great start in kindergarten.) where one of our parents testified on the importance of continuing the implementation of WAKids. 

We wore bright orange shirts that were donated by the League of Education Voters that said "KIDS FIRST".  We were definitely recognized and stood out where ever we went that day. We've had great feedback from our parents that attended that it was a very informational, fun filled day! We are looking forward to doing it again soon! 

This was an amazing day, and just another reminder why I LOVE MY JOBS! 

For more information about Parents United and how to get involved check out our FaceBook Page @ 

or email .