This inspiring annual day of advocacy, education, and networking was co-hosted by the Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance, Let's Grow Kids, and Building Bright Futures, and co-sponsored by 16 funders, agencies, organizations, providers, and businesses.
The day began with breakfast in the State House cafeteria, where advocates used the opportunity to talk with legislators about early childhood issues over coffee.
This year's event marked the 25th annual day of advocacy, education, and networking. Three speakers opened the event by sharing moving comments about the past, present, and future of Vermont's early childhood advocacy efforts and policymaking. Find videos of these speakers on the Alliance Facebook page.
The day included early childhood issue workshops facilitated by some of the Alliance's lead organizations. The Governor's Ballroom at Capitol Plaza was packed for a luncheon attended by legislators and administrators. Lively conversations happened all around the room. During lunch, early childhood stakeholders had an opportunity to speak with policy makers about key issues from the Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance's 2019 Legislative Agenda, such as: high-quality, affordable child care; family and medical leave insurance; housing programs; and funding for Children's Integrated Services (CIS) and Parent Child Centers, among other issues.
After lunch, a parent read a devotional in front of the House Chamber and Representative Marybeth Redmond acknowledged advocates for their important work.
Then, advocates spilled on to the State House steps for the third annual Rally for Kids in support of high-quality, affordable child care. Advocates listened to impassioned speeches by Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint, House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski, and National Life Group President Beth Rusnock. Also speaking were Jen Olson, a Vermonter who can't afford to start a family on an early educator's salary, and Faye Longo, a full-time working mother who has gone without groceries for the week before in order to afford quality child care.
Later in the afternoon, a birthday party was held in the Cedar Creek Room at the Vermont State House to celebrate 25 years of early childhood stakeholders coming to Montpelier. There was cake! But, more importantly, the slices of cake carried wishes for early childhood from Vermonters, and comments were shared by Governor Phil Scott, Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Mitzi Johnson. Find videos of the speeches on the Alliance Facebook page.
Thank you to everyone who was part of this wonderful event this year! We look forward to seeing you again next year.