Read these 13 Community Support Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Daycare tips and hundreds of other topics.
Many commumities, and even stores such as Wal-Mart, host a day or weekend where there is face painting and more. Your parent's group could request a booth to participate. These need not be complicated- we once did a booth where the kids made paper hats from newspaper and string, glitter, etc. The kids loved it, and it really raised our community profile.
One of the first steps you can do to become a serious advocate for childcare funding is register to vote. Just because you register to vote does not mean that you MUST vote, but realise that no politician, whether local or state will take heed of a constituent who is not even registered to vote. The fact is, they see nothing to gain by it, as you won't be able to vote for them even if you wanted to because you aren't registered.
The next step after registering is to write or email your local politicians. Tell your county councilman how you feel about local funding for childcare. Email your congressman and senator. Also consider emailing your state governor.
After you have done that, consider drafting a petition asking for increased tax breaks for working parents, more money for childcare for lower income families, and other related issues that you care about. Collect the signatures, and send to all the above politicians. If you have a computer, scan the document and email it.
It is very important that you email the document with actual signatures on it, as typed signatures are not valid for petitions. In the future, electronic signatures may be allowed, but at this time they have no real significance.
Actions as simple as these can greatly influence a politicians actions. The more people who are registered to vote that put pressure such as this upon them, the more likely they are to respond. So get on out there! They are supposed to represent you, so tell them what you want represented!
Community support for childcare is very important as funding and other issues are first handled at the local level. From the smallest home daycare provider, to the county sponsored daycare center, community support has an very important role to play. Be sure to check out my Community Awareness Activities for some fun ideas!
Not only your state senator and congressman can help you in your child care advocacy. You can write to congressional members on related committees as well as the leaders of the House. You can even have your parent's group write a letter to the President or First Lady on behalf of your children, sending in art work or painted hand prints along with it. These letters do actually get read, and help raise the profile of the issues you want highlighted. They also teach an early lesson on government to the children.
One good way to volunteer time at your child's center is to go along on one of their field trips. Extra adults are often needed to help keep track of the excited children, and it is a wonderful way to spend an extra bit of time with your child. Just be aware that this is NOT just time for you to be with your child. You are volunteering to help manage a group, and each child requires equal attention or the time you spend is wasted.
Whenever possible, volunteer at your child's daycare center! Not only does this give you a chance to familiarize yourself with teachers, curriculum, and the center itself...but your child will beam with pride the second you step into their room!
(This tip submitted by Lisa Pinter, Newsletter Guru)
What better way to raise community awareness to the needs of families in poverty? Local grocery stores will often allow a collection point to be set up, and the food can be given to a local food pantry. People in the community often need a reminder such as this that children in childcare are very often from young, single parent, or lower income families who need two incomes to survive. This kills two birds with one stone...you help feed the needy, and childcare for the poor is raised in profile. Be sure to place wording on the collection point to the effect of "BLANK Childcare Center Cares About Child Hunger." Also check to see if the food pantry accepts other items such as diapers, and place this information at the collection point.
A simple Tshirt with the name and/or logo of the child care provider. These need not be expensive, there are several inexpensive Tshirt maker programs available for the home PC. These not only bring up the name of the center, but puts people in mind that there are children in need of childcare in the community or else there would not be a center.
No one understands the needs of parents and children in childcare like parents of other children in childcare do. One way to help build community support and awareness is to start a parents' group. Talk to your childcare provider and see if they will allow you to post or hand out a flyer to other parents at the center where your child goes. Look for free bulletin boards at area stores and laundromats and post flyers there. Hold meetings and exchange phone numbers and email addresses. Have the group participate in fundraisers such as bake sales and other "in the public eye" events. Let your local child licensing agency know your group exists so that they may pass on the information. In this way you can build a network of concerned people and raise public awareness of the needs of parents and children.
A lot of man hours and loss of productivity can be laid at the feet of inadequate daycare. Armed with statistics, why not lobby your company to open an on-site daycare? This benefits both employer and employee. If you work retail, suggest that the centre accomodate customer drop offs. This is done in many places. One British supermarket has done it for years as they know that parents and other shoppers like to be able to shop undistracted, and undistracted shoppers spend more time shopping and spending money.
Even if you work during the hours your child's center is open, you can still volunteer time. During fundraising events such as bake sales, you can use your off time to bake a variety of goods and drop them off at the center with your child. Also check to see if there are things that need to be done while the center is closed. For example, many smaller centers and those that rely on public funding may need something as simple as a good carpet shampoo, which you could volunteer to either do yourself, or provide. Simply ask what sort of jobs need to be done, and see what you and the other parents can do. Don't sell yourself short, remember that any amount of time volunteered is valuable, even if it is only an hour or two.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|