Advocating Outside of the League

This past weekend the Advocacy Committee is hosted a Leadership & Lattes. In addition to having a fantastic speaker, we explained how to make advocacy attainable for each of you. As an output of this, I’ve decided to share a recent personal experience that has created an advocacy “opportunity” for me. I’m hoping that by providing an example of advocacy in daily life it will make it tangible, and perhaps take some of the intimidation out of it.

As you likely know, Target eliminated 1,700 jobs two weeks ago. My job was one. You may be close to people who were impacted, or have been impacted yourself at some point in time. I like to think that I wear my confidence with humility, so being my own biggest advocate is always a slightly uncomfortable place for me. I find it much easier to advocate for others, or for a cause I am passionate about, than to shamelessly advocate for myself. However, if ever there were a time to advocate for myself, this would be a good one. Here are some things I am remembering as I look for the next great thing in my career. These things are so easily applied to our work within the league that I thought it relevant to share them:
1. Know what you want. In the case of the league, know your elevator pitch. We will develop your advocacy speaking points at this weekend’s training. This articulation of what you’re looking for or what you want to share is often the most difficult piece.
2. Ask for help. Who is responsible for “fixing” the achievement gap? That question could be material for 20 more blog posts, but it illustrates how complex the issue is, and how one organization will not solve it on their own. Take partners.
3. Be uncomfortable. In my case, I’m advocating for myself as I would my best friend. For Junior League, show your passion and it will be infectious. If you want to be an advocate, make it a goal for yourself to inject this topic into a different conversation each week.
Not only is advocacy relevant to our work in the JLM, but it clearly crosses boundaries into many other areas of life.  In what ways do you advocate outside of the JLM?
Post contributed by Kacie.DeWolf.

Governor’s Budget Proposal

Last week we shared insight into one of Minnesota legislature’s top priorities :: Early-Childhood funding.  More information continues to emerge and Governor Dayton is clear on making this happen.  He is investing in Minnesota student’s and proposing half of his budget to go directly to schools.

The budget includes a plan for free pre-kindergarten starting in 2017. The governor’s pre-kindergarten proposal represents just one of several early childhood priorities that he has put forth to serve children in their earliest years, including child care through Basic Sliding Fee and Head Start. The Governor’s proposal uses a multi-pronged approach aimed at helping Minnesota children to start off in stable environments and serving the diverse needs of Minnesota’s families.

The budget also addresses higher education funding; seeking to improve the Minnesota State Grant financial aid program, and a two year continuance of the tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota.

See the following link for further information on the governor’s proposed budget:

Post contributed by Amy Borden.

2015 Legislative Topic :: Pre-K Funding

Last Fall Minnesota funded full day Kindergarten under a $15.7 billion education bill. This 2015 legislative session, another educational topic is up for debate: free pre-school education for every 4-year-old.  Here’s why:

  • Studies show attending pre-school makes a dramatic difference later in life because students who begin learning before kindergarten are better prepared for the rest of their education careers.
  • In Minnesota, an estimated 15,000 of roughly 30,000 kindergarteners per year aren’t ready for kindergarten.
  • NPR recently aired a segment, Opening economic doors with early childhood education, which outlines the impact of basic kindergarten readiness on long-term personal success and the economic impact.

Governor Mark Dayton stressed the importance of early childhood education during the 2014 legislative session and wants to take action in 2015 by provide funding to pre-school programs.

As a parent of a young child, this is an issue that affects me personally and one that I will advocate with friends and co-workers. Join me and other JLM members at Coffee and Conversation on March 21st and interact with Minnesota State Senator Terri Bonoff to learn more about the issue. Register online for this event, today!

Post contributed by Merris Greiber.