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Advocacy update: tale of two cities

Parenting Magazine

CT Mom Congress delegate Gwen Samuel is an amazing advocate who knows how to get things done in her city and state.  When Gwen learned about Parenting magazine and Target’s Read. Connect. Grow initiative to boost early literacy, she went into action to plan a special “Tis the Season to be Reading” day.

Norwalk (CT) Mayor Moccia – two Mom Congress thumbs up

Local officials were extremely supportive of Gwen’s efforts. Mayor Richard A. Moccia (Norwalk, CT) offered greetings and Governor M. Jodi Rell read the formal proclamation designating December 16, 2010 as “Tis the Season to be Reading” day.

The event was held at Norwalk’s Stepping Stones Museum for Children and featured NBC Universal’s anchor Brad Drasen as a moderator.  Greg Shumann VP & Group Publisher, The Parenting Group offered remarks and support. The children were treated to a story time with Alan Katz. Also present were Elaine Zimmerman, executive director for Connecticut Commission on Children and George Hensinger, CT Parent Power. 

Inspired by Gwen’s early reports of elected official support, I contacted Cary (NC) Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. In my initial email, I asked for the Cary Council to support a local Read.Connect.Grow initiative that would benefit foster children in the Methodist Home for Children Program. Specifically, just asked if Mayor Weinbrecht saw “possibilities for the Cary Council to join in this effort by providing information to business leaders about the need to support early literacy as well as help spread the word on giving books to children in need.”

Cary (NC) Mayor Weinbrecht – two Mom Congress thumbs down

Cary’s Mayor responded fairly quickly indicating “There are a lot of unanswered questions about the town getting involved in what you have proposed. There is a vehicle for getting those questions answered. A Citizen Issue Advisory Group can be formed to investigate the pros and cons of a new proposal.” The link to the timeline for a group’s formation from application submittal to presenting to the Council which would include public hearings and final action is estimated to take approximately 7.5 months. Really? The Mayor of Cary couldn't put a mention in his weekly blog or have a book bin in town hall without it taking months to establish an Advisory Group?

I did not let this stop me from trying to get a Read.Connect.Grow initiative going. I found another avenue by working with the Western Wake iMoms and finding two local businesses (Great Harvest Bread Company and Huntington Learning Center) that would help get the word out as well as place book bins in their locations. The end result was 1200 books collected in about 6 weeks.

Mom Congress power cannot be stopped. Reports from other delegates:

  • Bring the “Lunch Line” to your community: Healthy Schools Campaign recently announced an opportunity to bring a screening of Lunch Line to our communities. I missed the opportunity to see the film when it came last month. I plan to apply for our area to have the chance to see the film again. According to reports, The W. K. Kellogg Foundation is covering the licensing fees associated with screening the film in a number of low-income and minority communities across the U.S. To apply to bring the screening to your community, click here. KY Mom Congress delegate, Myrdin Thompson served on a panel which discussed Lunch Line movie.I encourage all parents to be educated about the school menu, to ask if there is a committee meeting they can attend, ask for a tour of the central kitchen, etc. Don’t jump to conclusions. To be educated is to be engaged, then partner towards a solution, not just criticize and condemn,” said Myrdin who is encouraging parents see Lunch Line. I encourage all parents to be educated about the school menu, to ask if there is a committee meeting that they can attend, ask for a tour of the central kitchen, etc, rather than just jump to conclusions. To be educated is to be engaged, then partner towards a solution, not just criticize and condemn.
  • CO Mom Congress delegate Virginia Zimmerman is still on the Colorado PTA State Board of Directors and active with training and legislative processes.  “We have visited multiple schools and areas to discuss PTA and train our officers. I am involved at both of my children's schools volunteering! As all busy moms, we are running tight schedules between schools, horse riding lessons, t-ball, dance schedules, and football. I am also the Confirmation Leader at church for my daughter's group. All the while, we are launching a new company. It is a very busy time and rewarding too!”

There is still time for YOU to enter Parenting Magazine’s 2011 “Send a Mom to Congress” contest at https://www.parenting.com/new/blogs/mom-congress/wanted-51-more-amazing-moms.  The deadline is January 31st!

Liza Weidle is the NC Mom Congress delegate and author of "Truth about Parenting: Navigating the Elementary Years."

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