Speaking Up for Kids

An Iowa student’s journey to Capitol Hill to make an impact for children. 

Mercedes Hendricks tables for SCAN at a market in Iowa. 

Mercedes Hendricks learned about Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) when she was a sophomore in high school. She was working on a school project about the evolution of enrollment rates at college universities, and she learned about the connection between early childhood education and success in college. Her teacher mentioned how SCAN was working to make sure all kids in the U.S. have access to high-quality early learning.

“This motivated me to get more involved,” Mercedes said. “Although I was fortunate to attend preschool, I know that so many children are not, and all I want for them is to get the same fair start that I did.”

While still in high school, she became a part of SCAN’s growing grassroots network of nearly 275,000 supporters in all 50 states, and engaged presidential candidates in 2016 as part of SCAN’s High 5 for Kids Campaign. Starting her freshman year at Drake University last fall, she has become an integral member of the school’s SCAN club, helping to strengthen the club’s presence on the school’s Des Moines, Iowa campus.

“I love seeing all of the work we have done,” Mercedes said, referring to all of the campaign efforts she’s been a part of as a SCAN volunteer and student ambassador. “It may feel small at the time, but in the long run, we’re making a huge impact for kids.”

As a SCAN volunteer, she also loves “seeing other people get passionate” about supporting issues that benefit kids, and “can’t wait to go to Capitol Hill” on April 2, joining more than 200 fellow SCAN advocates participating in the 2019 Advocacy Summit. Coming from 35 states, the student and adult advocates will all delve deeper into children’s issues for three days, March 31 to April 2, receiving training from leading experts, hearing from prominent speakers, and urging members of Congress to protect and invest in kids.

“I am really excited to meet other student ambassadors and learn about the work they are doing in their states,” Mercedes said.