It’s time for applications to Strolling Thunder 2019!
That means it’s time for families all across the country to tell their state representatives about their personal experiences of what impacts their children’s ability to thrive.
Who the heck doesn’t want to do that? And what the heck is Strolling Thunder? Take a look:
In 2017 my sister forwarded me an email that the organization Zero to Three had a campaign called Think Babies. Zero to Three works to help babies and toddlers thrive so they can become healthy, functioning members of society. They inform the public and policymakers on issues affecting child development and were looking for one family from each state to take to Washington D.C. and talk about experiences related to their kids. I immediately thought it was amazing and wanted to talk to Congress about our experience finding affordable, quality childcare. FYI, it sucks! Then we found Early Head Start, which is an amazing program that blessed our family so much.
I applied, we were selected to represent Washington state (where we were living at the time), and flew to D.C. to speak with our Senators and House Representative and participate in a stroller march (aka Strolling Thunder) around the Capitol You can read more details about it here (along with all the other links about it and our experience within that one). It was a life-changing experience for me. One of those things where I still will sometimes look at my husband and say, “Remember that one time we went to D.C. and spoke with Congress?” It’s just so amazing to be able to be involved in that way.
And it’s still completely relevant. I actually just received my W2’s today and thought about how different our life situation is now from two years ago when we went. Our income has literally quadrupled since then and guess what–it is still SO FREAKING HARD TO FIND QUALITY CHILDCARE! Despite the fact that childcare is expensive isn’t so much the issue for us anymore, simply finding one I feel okay taking my kids to seems like a near impossible task. An incredibly frustrating, near impossible task.
That’s just one issue related to our children’s development. There are many more, like healthcare, maternal care, maternity leave, nutrition programs, mental health, early learning, social skills, early intervention services, and parenting. The first three years of a child’s life are crucial for creating a healthy start for. Our government is in a bit of a crazy time in its life right now–how amazing would it be to contribute to improving it in such a direct way? Rather than be mad at the TV and feel helpless, you can act!
Being involved in Strolling Thunder totally changed my views on participating in the political process and the importance of being involved. While this effort is open to all parents, not just mothers, I can’t help but think of the legacy of female activism we have to look back on for our examples, even before they could legally vote. And I really look forward to retelling this experience to my kids as they grow up and instilling in them the responsibility to participate. So it’s time to get your civics on, mamas!
Applications are due Friday, February 11th! If you have kids aged three and under, you should look at their website and see if you have a story to share that can help Congress remember to think about the babies and toddlers their policies impact.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments or DM me on Instagram! And let me know if you apply!!