Saturday, October 16, 2010

When Politics Meets Personal

Posted by JHW22

I have been volunteering for an organization for over a year. I help them with research for their strategic and marketing plans and grants. I've never met them in person and they are four states away from me but I cared about their cause so much that I couldn't not help.

They run a preschool and childcare center for children in California with an emphasis on children with an ill family member. My friend has been fighting Leukemia for years and he and his wife faced the struggles of trying to find care while he was going through treatment. They learned that the emotional and physical stress takes a toll on the entire family and found it difficult to find good care for their children when he needed to get to appointments or treatments or be in the hospital.

They started their organization wanting to create an all-inclusive home-away-from-home with emergency drop-off services if an ill family member needed to be rushed to the hospital. They wanted to incorporate emotional healing into a child's day of learning the ABC's or that yellow and red make orange. They wanted to provide a place for families to seek financial planning, estate planning, stress management and bonding with other families of young children who are all experiencing the same struggles, fears and needs.

Their organization is one of a kind. They were recognized by the California and United States Senates, personally awarded by Senator Barbara Boxer, as being a crucial resource for children and their families.

They also educate children who aren't from a family experiencing these stresses , because even these children benefit from their curriculum grounded in empathy, communication of fears and frustrations, and from watching children like them struggle. These children all learn to be a community.

The organization also runs a nonprofit foundation to raise funds to help pay for children of all backgrounds to attend. They want to help parents already paying medical bills be able to send their children to a childcare and preschool designed with their needs in mind.

My friends are an inspiration.

Sadly, the California budget has cut funding for the licensing and regulation of new preschool facilities JUST as my friends were ready to get approval for their new building. Aside from the fact that they have committed their time and money into the new location, there are children and families who will suffer. Not just the families my friends serve, but the countless children who have been unable to attend preschool because of California's budget problems, and now more who will lose their childcare and preschool providers because of licensing and regulation shortfalls.

I will be spending the next days and weeks working with my friends to help them create an advocacy plan for getting this problem addressed immediately. We must get childcare and early education for the children who need it most. We can't allow the lack of funding for licensing and regulation prevent businesses from providing a necessary service.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, send them my way. I hope to return with a clearer call to action soon.

Thank you,

No comments: