Did you make a New Year’s Resolution for 2022?
We did: Our resolution at NC Child is to take every opportunity to be the best advocates for children & families that we can be. If that’s your resolution too, we have some ideas and resources for you.
1. Join the Child Advocacy Network
As advocates, we are stronger when we work together. The Child Advocacy Network (CAN) brings together child advocates from across North Carolina. Our primary goal is building power that can impact public policies to benefit children and families.
Those who are closest to the challenges know the best solutions. Together with the thousands of parents, direct service organizations, health care professionals, youth leaders, and faith groups who make up the Child Advocacy Network, we speak with a unified voice for North Carolina children.
If you’re not already part of the Child Advocacy Network – sign up today! The new year is a great time to update your email subscriptions to make sure you’re getting all the updates and content you want from NC Child (and even trim down those you don’t want). If you’re already a Child Advocacy Network member, please invite a friend! And be sure to follow NC Child on the social media channels you use.
2. Get to know your State Legislators
Whether your passion is early childhood education, health care, youth development, juvenile justice reform, mental health, environmental health, hunger & nutrition, or one of the thousands of other issues of public policy that affect our kids & families, you need to know your state legislators. Their doors are open to you, and your voice matters!
Find out who represents you in the NC General Assembly here. Most legislators are active on Twitter and/or Facebook, and many also offer a regular email newsletter. Follow them, and keep up with what they’re facing at the legislature. Reach out and ask for a meeting to learn more about where your top priorities overlap with theirs, especially right now – since the “short” legislative session doesn’t begin until May and their schedules are more flexible. If you work with a program serving children in your community, invite your state legislators to take a tour and get to know the families you serve.
Whether they’re writing the state budget or considering legislation that affects your community, it’s so important that your legislators hear from you about how kids and families will be impacted.
Don’t know where to start? NC Child’s Advocacy Toolkit has some great tips for building an effective relationship with your elected officials.
3. Use Your Voice for Kids
As our executive director Michelle Hughes said in her blog a few weeks ago: “Policy change can often take a long time – but it only happens because people like you and me continue to speak up.” Don’t miss a chance to use your voice for our children and families, whether that’s by responding to an action alert, calling your elected officials about a bill they’re considering, or attending your local school board meeting.
One powerful way to use your voice is with your pen. When you are inspired to speak up about issues affecting children & families in your community, write a letter to the editor or op-ed for your local newspaper. Use this template to help you develop your ideas into a format your newspaper will publish.
4. Take Care of Yourself
As we close in on two years of pandemic, and some of the biggest challenges our children & families have ever faced, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling overwhelmed. Being a strong voice for kids means we have to stay strong by taking care of ourselves. That can include building some mindfulness and self-care into every day – and knowing when to take a break. Looking at the year ahead, I hope you’ll take time to unplug for a while.
At NC Child, we’re grateful to be working with each and every one of you to stand up for our kids and families. Our job is to use public policy to take down the barriers that get in our kids’ way, so that every child can thrive – whatever their race, ethnicity, or place or birth. Let’s stay connected, and stay strong for our kids in 2022.