Friday, August 14, 2015

Profile of a Volunteer

"People volunteer for a wide variety of reasons. Often it is because someone close to them had been positively affected by the work of a volunteer or service –oriented agency” (Kieff, 2009). Mrs. Andrea Evans is a mother, a wife, and a caseworker at the homeless shelter. She is also the founder of HIV- AIDS Volunteer Prevention Group. She is a person I truly admire because she is dedicated and concerned about the situations that affect young children and their family’s daily lives.   As a volunteer, she is persuasive, enjoys recruiting other members to volunteer, and she never takes no for an answer. One time, she wanted to have a Thanksgiving dinner for the children who is infect with AIDS and living in poverty, every community center we visited turned us down. Mrs. Evans came up with a solution, and we were able to get a place. Her solution was that if a community center allowed us to use their recreational center to have our party, we would promote their center and volunteer. Her solution turned out to be a win-win solution.

Mrs. Evans has positively influenced others including myself seeing that she had her personal life to deal with; she took the time out to care for others.  Mrs. Evans has a way with words, she can speak to you today and you will feel motivated and will support others. To recruit others, Mrs. Evans always had her information kit ready, surveys and questionnaire to hand out.  She would share any new information with others. A few projects, I worked with Mrs. Evans are The New York Coat Drive in Fort Greene, Brooklyn,  Macy’s Make  A Wish Foundation, and Feed the homeless. Every time, I completed a project, I felt like a winner, accomplished, and felt like I was contributing to young children well-being. I knew that every child who was living in poverty, never lost hope and was looking forward to the next day.

 Mrs. Evans remind me that it is never about making money to give back, it is about the time you dedicate to give back to others. You might not know whom you give hope too, but there will be a sense of accomplishment when you are done.

Also, I learned that advocates who volunteer in organizations wanted to make a difference, and they will work enduringly.

Kieff, J. (2009) Informed Advocacy in Early childhood care and education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

Friday, August 7, 2015

Using Social Media to Get Connected

     I believe all my colleagues can agree that social media is a great way to network. Advocates can use social media to raise awareness about issues that are affecting young children and families.  Long ago,  I was a member of an HIV/AIDS Volunteer Prevention group, and I hosted a Christmas event for young children and families who were affected by the virus. I used social media to promote and invite my peers and former colleagues. My event was successful, I had a large crowd than I expected because through social media news spreads quickly. Currently, I am using social media as a networking tool, especially, LinkedIn seeing that it allows individuals to gain insights on different individuals.  And, I am using social media to stay connected with colleagues, friends, and family. . Another social media, I like using is Twitter because you can tweet your issues and follow politicians to @ them. 

  For effective advocacy work, advocates can promote their campaigns, create a public page for their work, and also it allows individuals to share your posts. I am a  fan of social media because it allows you to educate and inspire others because you can share stories, images, and individuals can ask questions to hear everyone point of views in situations.  Also,  social media allow people to communicate with a large crowd to hear everyone perspective of an issue.  Not a lot of people are a fan of social media but I found it very interesting, and I love the quotes people post to inspire others and myself.
    To my colleagues,  how can I use Pinterest as a tool to raise awareness about the issues low-income and immigrant families are facing? 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Advocacy Message

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The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is advertising many different campaigns. I  have chosen Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes and Many New Mothers Report No Physician Advice on Infant Sleep Position, Breastfeeding. Both campaigns address the issues that are affecting children's from zero to five years old health.

Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Campaign Advertisement
First, not many people are aware of how the environment play a critical role in their health. Secondly, "more than three million children under five die each year from environment-related causes and conditions"(World Health Organization,2015).Lastly, I certainly believe everyone should receive information about their environment such as, how bad the air is polluted?  And environmental hazards.
As a future advocate, this message is effective in creating action because indoor and outdoor environment causes individual deaths. Can you imagine your child dying because of your indoor environment? I do not recall any community leaders addressing this issues nor are they suggesting ways for their people to keep a safe indoor environment. Community leaders and policy makers should join forces together to increase funds for low-income and high-income communities to equip homes, housings,  and apartment buildings with stove and air ventilation.Also, policy makers should be addressing this issue. Furthermore, every child counts in the world.
 Here are some facts from World Health Organization:

  •  Diarrhea kills an estimated 1.6 million children each year, caused mainly by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
  • Indoor air pollution associated with the still widespread use of biomass fuels kills nearly one million children annually, mostly as a result of acute respiratory infections. Mothers, in charge of cooking or resting close to the hearth after having given birth, are most at risk of developing chronic respiratory disease.
  • Malaria, which may be exacerbated as a result of poor water management and storage, inadequate housing, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, kills an estimated one million children under five annually, mostly in Africa.


Many New Mothers Report No Physician Advice on Infant Sleep Position, Breastfeeding Campaign Advertisement
I think is imperative for new mothers to know about breastfeeding and the best sleeping positions for newborns. I am surprised this is an issue.  I thought doctors are supposed to tell the new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding and ways to prevent their child dying from sudden infant death syndrome. Unfortunately, doctors are not giving new mothers advice.
According to Washington post, about 1,000 women were surveyed on this issue, twenty percent woman out of the 1,000 did not receive guidance on breastfeeding nor ways to put their child to sleep. And about fifty percent took advice from other mothers who had more than one child already( Washington post, 2015).

I believe that this campaign would be effective in taking action. The media is contacted. Hopefully, policymakers would address the issue and doctors would be provided with more training on this matter. Also, I am hoping more funding will be supplied to hospitals and clinics to print out more information on pamphlets and posters. Also,  advocates can help spread the word, it would save infants life and reduce sudden infant death syndrome. Every child counts.

Overall, as advocates we should spread the message more to inform community leaders and policymakers about these issues. Our kids are dying before they reach the age one or six because of the environmental hazard that some people are not aware of, and new mothers lack knowledge about breastfeeding benefits and sleeping positions.


Reference 
Gebelhoff, R.(2015). Many New Mothers Do Not Receive Advice on Infant Care from Doctors, Survey finds. Retrieved http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/07/27/many-new-mothers-dont-receive-advice-on-infant-care-from-doctors-survey-finds/

National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD). (2009). Safe sleep for your baby: Reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Retrieved from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/safe_sleep_gen.cfm

World Health Organization(2015)Children Environmental Health. Retrieved http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/factsheets/fs284/en/


Friday, July 24, 2015

My Own Capacity

   Effective advocacy requires considering your own capacity, including your talents, skills, and resources (Kieff, 2009). I have a few special skills that I can contribute to the advocacy field; these skills are listening, documenting and recording, and being very assertive. I believe those three skills are exceptional for advocacy because we have to be able to listen to people concerns and make sure to hear the most important thing that is bothering him/her. Secondly, when we speak to a person, whether it is on the phone or in person, it is important to document and record. For instance, an advocate has to reach out to personnel in the U.S. Department and Children services. If they speak to the person, they have to document and record the date, time, personnel name, agency, location, and the discussion on the phone or meeting. Lastly, no matter how mad or angry I am, I always remain assertive because I know I will get my way. I am glad I am assertive. I noticed in the advocacy field, policies or situations might upset me or even a person, but I have to remain honest, be direct, and express my feelings in a suitable way.
       For me to grow in the advocacy field, I am hoping to see growth in speaking to a broad audience. The last time, I talked to a general public;  my voice tone kept getting lower.  I know advocates need to have a strong and clear voice when they are speaking in public to deliver the message. Another area, I am hoping to see growth is networking. Currently, I am looking for a course that can increase my networking skills. Networking and being able to speak in public will help me to be more efficient seeing that I will need to reach out to the communities, leaders, and other advocates.
        On my spare time, I liked to Google information about children, families, immigrants, and advocacy. When Google engine suggests websites, I become eager to explore. Recently, I checked over www.casaforchildren.org, and I must say it has many useful advocacy resources. CASA website has many different topics to select from, and it can help advocates to get more information about the topic of their interest. Also, since I want to support young immigrant children, CASA has a website that I can use as a resource to help immigrant families. I can help immigrant families file for citizenship, file for asylum, and help immigrant children get residency so they can get services. Another resource I have is social media; I can be able to spread the words about the issues that young children and their families are facing. The more the information spreads, community leaders and other representatives will notice it. We just have to hashtag.  To all my colleagues, please visit the website listed below, you will thank me later:
http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301325/k.B550/Advocacy_Resources.htm

Reference
Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (2015) Advocacy Resources for  CASA Volunteers and Program Staff. Retrieved http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301325/k.B550/Advocacy_Resources.htm

 Kieff, J. (2009). Informed Advocacy in Early childhood care and education. Upper  
       Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

My Role as an Advocate

“We all have a story and a message that can inspire others to live a better life”- Brendon Burchard.
  I remembered when I was a child; I told my mother I wanted to be a Pediatrician because my Pediatrician was great with my siblings and me. Nevertheless, that idea has changed. During my high school years, more than half of my mother’s friend faced language barriers including my mother. Due to the language barrier, they were limited to resources that would have been beneficial for their whole family. In my previous blog, I mentioned I helped a young boy get enrolled into a preschool program but I thought my services was done until I came across more families facing the same situation. I decided I no longer wanted to be a pediatrician; I found myself becoming more interested in young children and family services in the education field. I did not want any family to believe that their children will not have a successful future because of their immigrant status, language, or ethnicity.
   I think it is essential to acknowledge and foster advocacy efforts at the micro as well as the macro level because it all starts with a meaningful story an individual has to tell.  It will inspire others to make a change. To become a successful advocate, we need an assembly which was inspired by a person work.

     First, I would say to become a community leader on early childhood issues is to be knowledgeable in the early childhood field to have an idea of the issues young children and their family is facing. Secondly, being attentive to everyone in the community by listening to their concerns so it can be addressed to the political party. Foremost, I think when it comes to political leaders it can be stressful to get them to listen because they already have their own agenda but a community leader must be patience. They have to keep trying and figuring out different strategies that will get them to listen.

   A successful advocate needs resources. State leaders need fact sheets about early childhood issues. They need to network as much as possible by becoming a part of an organization. Another resource they need is financial considering that they will need to build websites, marketing materials, and to rent out space to have meetings with other advocates, politicians, and families.
  
  To see results in changes, advocates like myself have to share the message through social media, printing and giving out handouts to centers who serve young children and their families that regards to the issues. Recently, I read an ad posted at the bus stop and it wrote,” If it is not happening here, believe that it's going on somewhere else”. Advocates can take surveys in communities to see what issues are young children and their families are facing.

  The best advice I can give a person who wants to advocate for young children and families is to do research, volunteer in the organization that describes the reason you wish to support. I think this is the reason, I work  at a  shelter being that families are coming from different states, different nationality.  It gives me a clear understanding of what services young children need that will foster their growth development. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Personal Advocacy Reflection

     
When I was a freshman in college, I knew I had a passion for helping others but I did not know which professional field I wanted to pursue a career. I remember in my first year in college, one of my mother’s friends whose Haitian wanted to enroll her child in Daycare she did not speak English. She no longer wanted to keep her son home who was four at that time at home anymore and became frustrated. My mother told me to assist her in the enrollment processes such as translating, filling out application, and speaking on her behalf. I was able to help her get her child into the program. My mother's friend was elated.  Me and my mother's friend are now very close to each other.   As of today, her son is fifteen and has recently graduated from Junior High school to move on to High school, he was accepted into a specialized Brooklyn high school. I was invited to her son’s graduation and a lot of gratitude was shown on his day. Overall, the lady and her son mentioned to others at the graduation, reception that if it was not for me, she would have sent him back to Haiti. When she arrived here, her language barrier made her feel useless.

    I am happy I was able to make an impact on someone’s life especially for those in immigrant communities. The majority of immigrant families came to America for a better life for their children and family without professionals who can assist them, they will fee hopeless and might want to go back home. Making an impact on these individual’s life has helped me in my career to be able to advocate for others because I am aware of what immigrant’s young children and their families in America are experiencing. Before, I was not aware of the services that were offer to young children and families, policies and eligibility requirements, and I was not aware of the resources available in communities. Since my knowledge has deepened, I feel this is the purpose of my life to help young children reach their God’s - given potential.  Furthermore, I am aware of the series early childhood program has to offer young children and their families, community resources, now I can help immigrant young children and their families.  

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hello

Hello Colleagues,
I am elated to see familiar names; I am looking forward to learning more about advocacy work and how it helps young children, adults, and families. I want to develop skills and tools that are needed to be an effective advocate. 

I already started reading chapter one, and I can stay that I have to enhance some of the characteristics traits and skills.In addition, I am also excited because I am almost done with my Graduate Certificate program. My knowledge has deepened since I started Walden University, I feel more aware of the issues that our young children and their families are facing and cannot wait to start making a difference in a young child life. Good Luck in this course :-)