Each year — COVID pandemic lock-down years excepted — parents, grandparents, kids, caregivers, teachers, and other advocates for the safety and well-being of children in Washington have ascended on the state capitol in Olympia on a designated day to meet with lawmakers and make their hopes for kids known.
This year, Have a Heart for Kids Day will take place February 15 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The annual event is an “important opportunity to participate in the policy-making process, gather with child advocates from across the state, and meet with the legislators who work for you,” says Dr. Stephan Blanford, executive director of the statewide Children’s Alliance. “Events like this are crucial for demystifying our political institutions and opening doors for more diverse communities to have a say in our policies. We are especially excited for the return of Have a Heart for Kids Day to Olympia this year. There is no substitute for gathering in person, hearing the cheers of fellow advocates, and feeling the
energy as we literally raise our voices together.”
A collaborative effort on behalf of kids
The event will be collaboratively hosted by the Children’s Alliance and The Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP, Save the Children Action Network, Washington Family Engagement, Seattle-based Social Venture Partners, and Families of Color Seattle.
The day is an opportunity for families to learn about the legislative process, see the Legislature in action, and ask their representatives and senators to “have a heart” when it comes to legislation of impact to kids and families. The program for the day includes:
- Online pre-event trainings on issues affecting children in Washington
- Training on February 15, during the day-of advocacy event
- Lunch for in-person attendees
- Visits with lawmakers. Virtual attendees have the opportunity to participate in virtual legislative visits.
- An afternoon rally on the Capitol steps. Featured speakers will include First Lady Trudi Inslee, Senator Andy Billig, Representative Emily Alvarado, and Representative Tana Senn
“We have staff and volunteers available to help set up meetings in advance, so you’ll be able to speak directly with your representatives about the issues that matter to you,” says Blanford. “Our primary goal of this event is to amplify the power of child advocates from across Washington state. When we come together like this, we can really show lawmakers how much appetite there is to build a better future for our kids.”
Before the 2024 legislative session started in Januar, the Children’s Alliance set an ambitious agenda for lawmakers. The current session of the Washington State Legislature ends on March 8. Download a simple-to-read print-out of the agenda to see what issues the organization is following or working with lawmakers to address.
Register for Have a Heart for Kids Day 2024
Parents should note that morning training sessions on February 15 will take place about a 10-minute drive away from the state capitol, where legislator meetings and the rally will take place.
Be sure to register for the event, whether you will join online or in person by going to the event registration page.