Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Southwest Wash. Senators Recognized for Early Learning Leadership

Adam 10/08/14

Ann Rivers & Annette Cleveland


Every one of our state’s children needs an equal opportunity for high-quality early learning. That’s why a growing number of state, local and federal policymakers are supporting the first five years of a child’s life: the foundation for lifelong success.

Among them are State Senators Ann Rivers (18th District, La Center, left) and Annette Cleveland (49th District, Vancouver, right).

The Early Learning Action Alliance, convened by the Children’s Alliance, recognizes this support each year with Crayon Awards. Senators Cleveland and Rivers are among 13 legislators across the state receiving Crayon Awards for their work on early learning. These leaders understand that children need high-quality, culturally relevant care to become resilient, successful learners.

Three types of awards are given: Gold, Silver and Bronze Crayon Awards. Gold Crayon Award recipients are leaders in the vanguard who champion efforts to expand access to high quality early learning opportunities. Silver Crayon Award recipients are steadfast advocates who further the cause and cast their votes for early learning issues. Recipients of the Bronze Crayon Award are rising early learning leaders; ELAA counts on their growing support.

During the 2014 legislative session, Senator Rivers sponsored a successful bill that expands access to early learning for children in the child welfare system. Senator Cleveland supported greater participation in the Early Learning Advisory Committee, a diverse group of people who help shape the future of Washington’s children birth to age 5.

While Crayon Awards recognize these legislators’ achievements over the past two years, they also represent the expectation that legislators will support early learning even more strongly in the future.

The two legislators said this in recognition of the awards:

“It is always an honor to be recognized for the work we do in Olympia, but I am particularly proud of this because it acknowledges the value of investing in those kids who start out with the odds stacked against them,” said Senator Rivers. “We need to make sure the necessary supports are in place from the very beginning, because every child deserves the chance to succeed in life.”

“I am honored to receive this award today,” said Senator Cleveland. “Children are our greatest asset, and when we are able to strengthen and expand early learning opportunities for all kids in our state, we are not only using state resources wisely but preparing our kids to be successful in high school and beyond.”

  Photos courtesy Washington State Senate.