Have a Heart: Invest in Kids!
As a new Congress and state legislatures convene, they will be facing massive economic challenges resulting from the pandemic. This includes our littlest learners: children are missing out on quality child care due to closures and not enough funding for those programs.
Both new and returning lawmakers need to hear from you about the importance of investing in early childhood education to help more kids be kindergarten-ready in addition to improving the state’s economy long-term.
Valentine’s Day provides us with a fun way to tell these lawmakers that we want them to show they have a heart by prioritizing early learning programs in their budgets.
Depending on your state, you may be focusing on members of Congress or on your state lawmakers – or both! Talk with your Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) staff contact to determine which lawmakers you’ll be focusing on. Then use this toolkit to create some fun Valentine’s cards and plan your deliveries– all while being safe during the pandemic!
Because of COVID-19, we recommend that your valentine-making activities take place online and at home. You can incorporate valentine-making into an existing student club or community action team meeting, host a stand-alone event or write them by yourself at home. It’s up to you!
Need ideas about an online video platform for your valentine-making event? We’ve got you covered! Check out our comparison of online platforms.
Remember, if you are writing to members of Congress, you will typically write three cards: two to your U.S. senators and one to your representative. Not sure who represents you? You can look it up at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members.
There are several ways you can prepare your valentines, including:
Using Our Pre-Printed Postcards
SCAN has created postcards with a Valentine’s Day message. The back is blank for you to write a note to your lawmaker. See our sample messages below for what you can write to your lawmakers.
Making Your Own Valentines
You can create your own valentines with some simple materials like paper and markers. Once your valentine is done, grab your SCAN t-shirt and take a quick photo or video. You can then plan to share that on social media, tagging your lawmakers.
Here’s a sample post that could work: Check out these special valentines I created for @SenBoWatson! Senator, we at @SCActionNetwork urge you to #HaveAHeart and #InvestInKids this Valentine’s Day.
Sample Postcard Message
Note: The sample message below was drafted with congressional lawmakers in mind. If you are focusing on state lawmakers, connect with your SCAN staff member about which programs to highlight for your state.
Dear [lawmaker name] –
Please support $40 billion for the child care industry in the next stimulus package Congress considers. Child care is vital for our youngest learners, working parents and our economy.
I hope you’ll have a heart and invest in kids!
[your name and address]
Sample Messages for Handmade Valentines
♥ Have a heart and invest in kids!
♥ Don’t break my heart – invest in kids
♥ Be mine. Invest in kids!
♥ Roses are red. Violets are blue. Invest in kids, and voters will love you!
As you plan your valentine-making activities, make sure to select an online meeting platform so that people can convene safely. Below are a few options for platforms that are free and easy to use. Your SCAN staff contact may also have preferences about online meeting platforms.
|Zoom||Messenger Rooms||Skype||Google Meet|
|Participant Limit||Up to 100||Up to 50||Up to 50||Up to 100|
|Time Limit||40 minutes||None||None||60 minutes|
|Account Sign Up||Click here||N/A||N/A||Click here|
|Meeting Set Up||Click here||Click here||Click here||Click here|
|Sharing Video||Click here||Click here||Click here||Click here|
Below are some ideas for delivering or mailing your valentines. No matter how you deliver your valentines messages, be sure to stage a great photo. We’ll use these photos on social media and share them with lawmakers’ offices. Check out our tips for taking a good photo.
Please be sure to put your safety and those of your fellow SCAN advocates first when planning your deliveries. Also, connect with your SCAN staff contact about delivering or mailing your valentines to ensure coordination.
If You Wrote Postcards:
♥ You can either mail them directly to lawmakers or send them to your SCAN staff contact who may mail them together or deliver them in-person.
♥ If you created your own valentines: Because handmade valentines will require an envelope, they will take a long time to get through congressional screening. Instead of mailing these, we recommend taking a selfie (ideally in your SCAN t-shirt) holding your valentine to share on social media. Remember to tag your lawmakers in your post so they see your message to them. Also, please use the hashtags #HaveAHeart and #InvestInKids in your posts.
♥ If you created a Kudoboard: Kudoboard has a print feature so you could consider an in-person delivery, following all safety protocols (see below). You could also download the image to send directly to the lawmaker’s staff member.
If You Organize an In-Person Delivery, Consider These Tips:
♥ Send only one or two people max for the delivery. If you send more than one person, they should practice social distancing and wear masks. You should also call the lawmaker’s office in advance to coordinate on safety protocols related to delivering the valentines.
♥ Wear your SCAN t-shirt and make sure it’s visible in the photo.
♥ Make sure the valentines are visible in the photo. Place the especially creative ones on top. Consider taking a close-up photo of some of your favorites.
♥ Be polite to the staff when dropping off the cards. Let them know that you want the lawmaker to prioritize funding for programs that help more children access high-quality early childhood education.
♥ Take a great photo! See our tips for taking a quality picture that we can share far and wide.
♥ After the delivery, post your favorite photo on social media. You can tweet a photo at the lawmaker to whom you delivered the valentines or post your photo on Facebook or Instagram tagging the lawmaker. Be sure to use the hashtags #HaveAHeart and #InvestInKids in your posts.
Writing a letter to the editor encouraging your lawmakers to invest in early learning programs is a great way to show public support. Customize the sample letter below and submit to your local newspaper.
To the Editor:
With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s the perfect time to show our love for kids – our future generation. This year, particularly due to the devastating impacts of COVID-19, kids need all the love and support possible. That’s why, this Valentine’s Day, I’m joining Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) in urging policymakers to have a heart and invest in kids.
Kids have really struggled since the onset of the pandemic. Due to widespread school and child care closures, countless children have missed out on crucial early learning opportunities and, in many cases, haven’t had their basic nutritional needs met.
Did you know that since the onset of the pandemic, food insecurity rates have tripled for families with children across the nation? In fact, more than 12 million children are affected by this hunger crisis. And, without federal support, the country could lose 4.5 million child care slots – meaning potentially 4.5 million kids without early learning and care opportunities.
The good news is that President Biden has recently proposed the American Rescue Plan which would ensure kids recover – and emerge more successful – from the pandemic. The plan includes substantial support for the child care industry, as well as programs combatting child hunger.
It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for kids.
Join me in urging [NAME OF POLICYMAKER] to have a heart and support this this kid-friendly COVID-19 relief legislation. Our future depends on it.
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