I don’t have kids of my own but, after years of babysitting and coaching, I know kids and youth have a lot to say. Just give them an opening and be ready to listen. Recently, a co-worker’s 7-year-old son drew a picture in response to the question, “what would make Kentucky the best place in America to be young?” His picture showed a restaurant with a no-smoking sign in the window and his explanation was simple: “We need more smoke free places in Kentucky, because kids can be allergic to cigarette smoke!” It’s not fancy, but it is what he wants for Kentucky. The video posted with the blog “We’ll Need to Equip Our Children for the Future,” further demonstrates that youth know what they need but also understand the importance of getting the right people to hear them.

In just two weeks from today, hundreds of child advocates from across the state will gather in Frankfort to listen and be a voice for Kentucky’s kids. The 9th Annual Children’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol will kick-off with a rally at 9:30am on Thursday, February 7, 2013. Will you be there? Below is some key information about the day. For more information, view the complete Children’s Advocacy Day booklet.

Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. on the 2nd Floor Mezzanine in the Capitol with the kick-off rally starting at 9:30 a.m.The rally will include youth speakers from TrueUp and the KY TeenInstitute as well as a closing speech from Secretary of State Allison Lundergan-Grimes. After the rally, take the tunnel on your way to meet with legislators in the Annex so you can be sure to view the artwork on display from Kentucky’s students.

Mini-seminars on the 2013 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Childrenagenda items will begin at noon.Here is the schedule for these seminars:
12:00pm: Earned Income Tax Credit: Speaker, Katie Carter, Kentucky Youth Advocates
12:20pm: Smoke-free law: Speaker, Betsy Janes, Smoke-free Kentucky
12:40pm: Abuse and Neglect: Speaker, Joel Griffith, Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky
1:00pm: Youth safety: Speaker, Rebecca DiLoreto, Children’s Law Center
1:20pm: Human trafficking: Speaker, MaryLee Underwood, Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault ProgramsAt the end of the day, come watch the House or the Senate in session at 2:00 p.m. We will be on the 3rd floor of the Capitol outside of the House and Senate Chambers handing out gallery passes on a first-come, first-served basis.One of the most important things you can do on Children’s Advocacy Day is meet with your legislators and let them know you travelled all that way to ask them to step up for kids. If you haven’t yet, please call the LRC switchboard at 1-800-633-9650 today and schedule appointments to meet with them on February 7.