Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Advocacy Camp strengthens one parent’s skills, voice for early learning

Christina 08/30/12

 

Kylee Allen of Oak Harbor knows how effective advocacy can create better opportunities for kids. Her eldest daughter Delaney, now 10, is a living testament to how Head Start can set a strong foundation for success in K-12.

Kylee and family

"Delaney, who had a severe speech delay, found the confidence she needed to speak up for herself,” says Kylee. “All my children are ‘A’ students and avid readers. These are skills that we learned together while at Head Start.”

Kylee attended Advocacy Camp in 2010, where she had the opportunity to build her skills and strengthen her connections to better speak up for all kids in Washington state. She learned how to get her voice heard in the media, share her values effectively with others, and better navigate the Washington State Legislature, she says.

Though she had testified in Olympia a few times, it wasn’t until Advocacy Camp that she saw how caucuses, committees and constituents interact to influence the kind of state Washington’s kids grow up in.

“It was like a light bulb went off in my head,” Kylee recalls. “In the three days of camp I learned how to use my voice productively to stand up for what all kids should have like quality early childhood education, food and health insurance. I learned how to reach out to organizations within my small community that I had a common value with about children.”

Since then, Kylee has strengthened the voices of parent advocates by getting stories and letters to the editor published in newspapers in support of quality early learning. She’s also helped bring hundreds of parents and advocates to the Capitol to protect child care for working families.

Kylee currently leads the Early Learning Action Alliance’s Parents United Group to protect and improve early learning opportunities for all children across the state year-round, and also serves as one of two parent coordinators for the WSA Head Start & ECEAP Parent Ambassadors. Her work and the work of other Parent Ambassadors won the group a “Voices for Children” Award from the Children’s Alliance in June.

“I realized that I was part of a bigger picture and that there are other people who have the same common goals as I do,” says Kylee. “I was able to become part of an organization that would provide me with tools and resources to advocate for kids. “

Get the tools and connections you need to speak for Washington’s kids like Kylee did. Apply now for Advocacy Camp!

*Photo above courtesy of Kylee Allen.