by Crystal Lett
After attending Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network’s (SCAN) Advocacy Summit this past April as the only delegate from Ohio, I knew that I had work to do when I came home.
When I arrived at the Summit in Washington, D.C., I was deflated. I was tired from working on an incredibly long and vicious election cycle and all the political activity I had been involved in since that fateful day in November. I was worn out from a host of pessimism – from crusading against all the things I disliked. My life was being framed by the negativity I was experiencing and it was taking a toll on me.
Enter Save the Children Action Network
The Advocacy Summit gave me positive issues to align myself with – issues that allowed me to focus on lifting people up. I could fight for something instead of against everything. SCAN gave me a platform and encouraged me to use my voice and take action for high-quality early childhood education for all children, and increased maternal, newborn and child survival around the world.
SCAN’s issues – specifically access to high-quality early childhood education – are deeply personal to me. My oldest son was born with a rare genetic disorder. He was diagnosed at 5 days old. Due to his early diagnosis and the early intervention services he has received through Head Start programs, he is thriving.
He had an incredible experience in his preschool program and recently finished kindergarten. His year was marked by academic success, new friends and an overall affection for school that is more than we could have dreamed for.
As a family, we are already seeing the fruit of his early childhood education experience and we could not be more grateful that he was able to attend. After all, less than half of children that are eligible for Head Start programming are able to attend due to the lack of funding.
Upon my return to Ohio, I began to share my experience at the Summit with my colleagues, family and friends.
I wasn’t trying to raise an army, but I did. I had no idea people were feeling so similarly to me – desperate for something positive to latch onto. People are longing to stand for the good in the world – for an opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves, something they can be proud of. For me, starting off on my own was challenging in theory, but far easier than I would have known.
If you’re new to SCAN like me, and you’re looking for partners to stand with you, share your story! Speak your truth. Talk about what makes this organization so great. If your state is anything like mine, people will be lining up to stand with you. Unity is a beautiful thing. May we all be bolder, braver and stronger for the kids we represent. They need us, and we need each other.