Katie_CADKatie Okumu, a junior at Berea Community High School opened the 12th annual Children’s Advocacy Day rally on Thursday, January 14 by telling her story of being raised by her grandmother and now her great-grandmother. She talked about how she was one of the lucky ones because these two women in her words “saved us.” Katie ended her remarks by saying:

“That is the most important thing we can do as youth; to impact what has impacted us, regardless of what family is to us. That is what today is all about. We are the voices of the future. We are the leaders of tomorrow and today. We are Kentucky.”

Katie perfectly summarized the importance of stepping up for kids and we thank all of you who did that with us on January 14th. Nearly 1,000 advocates joined Katie for Children’s Advocacy Day to stand up for children. Community partners and youth asked legislators to support issues on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children agenda such as protecting child victims of abuse, ensuring our state uses age appropriate responses to kids who mess up, and prioritizing children in the state budget by including funding for things like increased child care support for working parents and support for relatives raising kin children. We honored leaders who were Champions for Children last year; heard from President Stivers, Speaker Stumbo, and Secretary Tilley; met with legislators; and celebrated 25 years of Kentucky KIDS COUNT at a reception.

While Children’s Advocacy Day was a great day for kids, there is much work left to be done for children in the 2016 General Assembly and we need your help. Here are some concrete ways to be a child advocate this legislative session:

  1. If you couldn’t attend Children’s Advocacy Day (and even if you did), make time to contact your legislators and ask them to prioritize the needs of children in their votes this session in honor of Children’s Advocacy Day. Click here to take action.
  2. Learn about policy priorities on the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children.
  3. Check our action alerts page often to see what issues you can contact your legislators about on behalf of children.
  4. Stay up-to-date on how bills on the Blueprint agenda are progressing through the General Assembly by visiting our legislative updates page.
  5. And as always, make sure to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to weekly emails to have the latest information possible.

We are more effective as advocates for children when we unify our voices on their behalf. Thanks to all who attended the 12th annual Children’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Thanks to our sponsors for making Children’s Advocacy Day a success. Thanks to those of you who step up for kids in various ways everyday in your personal and professional life. And thanks to our elected leaders for prioritizing the needs of children in the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly.