Getting Involved
What is advocacy? Red Bullet Why advocate for children?
Red Bullet Which type of advocate are you? Red Bullet What can
you do? Red Bullet Action Agenda: Getting to know your
elected officials Red Bullet Action Agenda: Plan ahead

What is advocacy?
   Advocacy can be as simple as speaking on behalf of a friend in need or as complex as leading a march on Capitol Hill. We advocate for our children when we ask teachers or administrators about the state of the school system. We advocate for ourselves when we negotiate with an employer for time off to be with our families. We advocate on a community level when we attend a city or county hearing and ask about the future of a neighborhood center.
   As child advocates, we work to ensure that the children in our communities have a voice and that their needs are met. We can do this by voting, talking to legislators about our concerns, speaking up at community meetings or writing letters. Our advocacy may take many forms, but anyone who cares about an issue and is willing to make a difference can be an advocate. Promoting what works and challenging what doesn't are the hallmarks of effective advocacy.
   Most important, advocacy is a frame of mind - not just a job title, occupation, or role in life. Advocates see opportunities where others see obstacles. The only qualifications for being an effective advocate are concern, compassion, commitment and action.

Why advocate for children?
   Advocates provide a voice for those who are either unable to speak for themselves or who have difficulty being heard. Children and families who are struggling in one way or another are among those most in need of our advocacy and support.
   Most of us simply care about the children in our neighborhoods. We want them to be safe, healthy and happy. And we want our local, state, and federal policy-makers to act in ways that support children and families. To do this effectively, it is important to have a sustained and vocal presence at all levels of decision-making. We can all be part of that presence and part of the effort to protect our nation 's children and families.

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