Anti-Racism, Anti-Poverty and Affordable Housing were the top three vote-getters at the 2017 Issues Convention, edging out Early Childhood & Education for the first time in ten years!
The Early Childhood & Education Task Force has a decade of impressive history, successfully advocating with community partners for increased dental services in elementary schools; for establishing the Nurse Family Partnership in Kalamazoo County and securing its funding in the state general fund; for developing Kalamazoo County Ready 4s to increase access for high quality Pre-K for 4 year-olds in Kalamazoo County; for reauthorization of federal funding of evidence-based Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs (MIECHV) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
We are deeply grateful to the members of the Early Childhood & Education Task Force for their commitment, their leadership and the strong partnerships they formed with community agencies. All that experience and collaboration will not be lost. Some of their members have joined one of the other task forces, and some continue to represent ISAAC on agency boards that continue the work for early childhood and education. The work they did in 2017, before the Issues Convention vote in October, testifies to the quality and quantity of their accomplishments:
- Worked in collaboration with community partners on its current issue of building community awareness about the impact of toxic stress and trauma on youth and their families and strategies for supporting resilience.
- Hosted with fifteen ISAAC churches and partner organizations screening events of films from the Raising of America segments on trauma (Wounded Places; DNA is Not Destiny), in partnership with local trauma experts to provide insight and lead discussions, resulting in 400 community members participating in these awareness-building events.
- Worked as a partner in the Trauma and Resilience Workgroup of community collaborators, facilitated by the United Way of Battle Creek & Kalamazoo Region, to enlarge the effort and create a plan to build collective awareness and address trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACES) in Kalamazoo County.
- Partnered with the Workgroup and the Michigan ACE Initiative to bring the new documentary RESILIENCE: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope to audiences of child and family-servicing organizations, including educators, social service providers, clergy, after-school programs, community volunteers, community leaders and elected officials, and the juvenile court system.
- Conducted a “make it and give it away” workshop with ISAAC volunteers to create “sensory bins” of manipulatable resources for teachers and staff to use to help young children develop self-regulation strategies and positive learning environments in a local school and agency.
- Led advocacy efforts with ISAAC members to ask federal legislators to retain funding for after-school and summer learning programs (21st Century Community Learning Centers, e.g., CIS); NFP, and MIECHV.
- Partnered in Cradle Kalamazoo efforts to reduce infant mortality and racial disparities by educating ISAAC supporters (e.g., Safe Sleep, 269-888-KIDS), participating in Health Equity trainings and advocating for funding to support front line services.