Lonndon Blake, Public Affairs and Advocacy Chair
What a more fitting time for our government elections to be held in November; the month we give thanks for all the opportunities and blessings we have been afforded. Although our country is in a time of change, we have the ability to create the change we want to see. There are many countries throughout the world that do not receive the option to vote, so please exercise your right to vote choosing the best option for you and your needs while continuing your advocacy efforts within the community.
Within Junior League of Champaign Urbana, we train all members in the area of advocacy so we can be effective leaders in the community. One of our most important advocacy efforts in the Champaign-Urbana area is education. As many of you are aware, Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding areas have a significant wait-list for preschool. At that tender age, children are at their most critical time for learning and development and many children in our community are being underserved due to the funding of education in our state. JLCU has recognized a need in the community for preschools and took action by creating a program called Bright Starts, a Kindergarten readiness program, to help give those children on the wait-list a leg up. Along with creating programs for our education advocacy area, we as an organization visited our State Capital in Springfield during Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day. During this visit, we met one on one with our legislators to encourage educational changes and/or policies for the betterment of our state and local community.
Bright Starts is a wonderful example of how we advocate for education in the community, but there are other advocacy efforts we participate in, such as Kids in the Kitchen in partnership with the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club. Kids in the Kitchen is an Association of Junior League International (AJLI) – wide health initiative to help prevent childhood obesity. JLCU may be most widely known for our advocacy regarding women and children, but we should also be known as an organization committed to this community and to organizations that may need a helping hand with their advocacy efforts.