SCAN intern Mattie Cryer advocated for Full Day Kindergarten in Colorado.
It’s hard to anticipate the impact that an internship will have on your career. When I started the year with Save the Children Action Network in Colorado, I knew that I would gain practical experience and exposure to non-profit work and political advocacy. I also knew that as a Master of Social Work student at the University of Denver, I had developed an understanding of my own areas of interest, despite not quite knowing what my next steps would be: policy, advocacy or supporting vulnerable populations.
Spending a year with SCAN has given me insight into my own hopes and goals for the future. Through SCAN, I have come to learn the value of grassroots advocacy and the power of advocates.
I started at SCAN in the middle of the campaign for full-day kindergarten in Colorado. Alongside my wonder-woman supervisor, Annalise Romoser, our goal was to rally as much support as possible in favor of funding full-day kindergarten in public schools with the state’s budget surplus. The idea of mobilizing an entire state with only two people overwhelmed me. Where would we start?
We started with the small network of SCAN volunteers and put on public education campaigns while following the proposed bill through the Colorado General Assembly, hoping to catch any wavering representatives early. By watching Annalise navigate grassroots advocacy on a large scale, I was able to facilitate a similar action plan on the University of Denver campus, engaging students as fellow advocates. Living through the process made the value of such work clear. And after all the energy given by SCAN and volunteers, full-day kindergarten passed and rolls out this coming fall!
The win was not a guarantee and made all of the effort so much sweeter. Now, I cannot imagine a future for myself that does not involve participating in issue-based advocacy. I am sure I will call back on this rich experience for years to come as an example of how to best approach large-scale campaigns.
This year has truly packed a punch! I did not imagine my experience would be this transformative, both professionally and personally. I will reflect for many years on the lessons and training that SCAN has gifted me. It is bittersweet to end my official internship with SCAN, but I am happily joining the SCAN volunteers of Colorado. In the final minutes of my official time with Save the Children Action Network, I want to say the biggest thank you to both SCAN and its volunteers for investing in me and investing in kids!