From Denver to D.C.: A Mother’s Path to Advocacy

Princess is a seasoned parent from Denver, Colorado with four children and three grandchildren—spanning ages two to 30. She’s also an active volunteer in her community and an avid advocate of early childhood education.

She began advocating for improved early childhood education policies after she placed her third child in child care back in 2007.

“I had two kids in high school and was sure I was done with childcare,” she said. But when she became pregnant with her son, she went in search of day care and was “mortified” by the lack of quality options.

Her son eventually entered Mile High Montessori, which connected Princess to Clayton Educare—a research-based, outcome-focused center for children and families rooted in the Head Start model.

According to Princess, “The two generation model at the school embraces families and offers opportunities for families’ growth—including the chance to advocate.”

After attending her first state-level advocacy meeting there, Princess recalls the experience being exhilarating. “I had never seen a reason to go to the Capitol, but now I had one. I realized I had access to senators and representatives.”

That day, she met with state Senator Mike Johnston about an early childhood education bill he had introduced. Since then Princess has met with multiple state lawmakers—working closely with some to advance legislation. She’s learned a lot from advocating and working with lawmakers during the past decade, and is happy to share that knowledge with other SCAN advocates.

Her advice for them is to not take lawmakers’ positions personally. “If you personalize the debate, and make it ‘you versus them,’ you will never work effectively together,” she said.

Princess is excited about joining the Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C. this year for the first time. She is eager to gain new perspectives, access up-to-date information on maternal and child survival and meet a new network of activists.

“We can always learn from veteran volunteers, and even the newest ones,” she said. “They give us critical perspectives on our struggle.”

Learn more about ways that you can advocate for kids.

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Annalise is the Colorado mobilization manager for Save the Children Action Network. Throughout her career she has led humanitarian, development, and human rights campaigns. She has worked extensively in Latin America and has carried out focused projects in Asia and Africa. Annalise received her Master of Arts in Latin American studies from the University of California, San Diego, and holds a certificate in international human rights and humanitarian law from American University, Washington College of Law.