|By Mary Grissom|
As Director of Engagement at Metro United Way, I have the privilege of asking others to give, advocate, and volunteer to make long lasting change in our community. And on occasion, I fall short of fulfilling my own commitments. But in this fresh New Year, I am starting off right.
This Thursday, January 16th I will do what a couple thousand other regular ole’ Kentuckians have done for 10 years – wake up at the crack of dawn and drive to our state capitol to raise up our voices for Children’s Advocacy Day. It’s loud, it’s raucous, and sometimes it’s chaotic. But there is nothing more beautiful than the sight of people from every walk of life, every background, and every age, joining together with one voice to proclaim that children are our top priority.
This year is particularly important – it is a budget year. Budgets always require tough choices. They are an expression of our values. So this year, because I said I would, and because I KNOW it matters, I am heading to the Capitol to ask the legislature to fund kids first.
Study after study shows that quality early childcare improves kindergarten readiness. And when kids start behind they stay behind. I am thrilled to work for an organization whose work is changing the odds for young people facing the toughest odds by investing in early education.
I see in my work and in my home the importance of quality childcare. That is why I am speaking up for restoration of the Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) that helps low-income families’ access quality childcare by covering part or all of the cost of childcare for parents that are working or receiving educational training.
And although I drag my feet in making my appointments with my legislators and will grumble into my coffee on that early morning drive – I know that it is one of the joys of my life that I get to call Children’s Advocacy Day another day at the office.
At Metro United Way, we connect the people and organizations with the passion, expertise, and resources to get things done. Our partners at Kentucky Youth Advocates have handed us the metaphorical microphone by organizing Children’s Advocacy Day, and I am in.
How will you answer the call for children in this New Year?
Mary Grissom is the Director of Engagement at Metro United Way. After spending ten years working in Boston non-profits, local campaigns, and city government she returned to her hometown of Louisville, KY with a deep desire to better understand and make impact in her own home.
Mary recruited her husband to move home to Kentucky with her and is proud mama to Ella Mae.
You can reach Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @mgrissom5