Category Archives: Child Health–Insurance, Obesity, and Other Issues

2 Minute Advocacy Ask for this Week: No on Legalizing Explosive Firearms

And yes–it really only takes 2 minutes

The “Ask”:  Please contact members of the Georgia House Regulated Industry Committee and ask them to vote NO on HB 110 (Roberts-155th) and HB 15 (Turner-21st) which would legalize the sale of explosive fireworks in Georgia.

fireworksThe Why:  According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in an estimated 8,700 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2012. Of these:

  • 30% of people injured by fireworks in 2012 were under 15 years old.
  • 46% of the estimated emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to youth under 20 years old.
  • The U.S. Fire Administration’s recommendation:  “The best way to protect your family is not to use any fireworks at home – period. Attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals.”

The Message:  “Please vote NO on both HB 110 and HB 15 when each comes before the House Regulated Industry Committee.  There were 8700 fireworks related injuries treated in hospitals in the US in 2012.  Youth under 20 make up 46% of that number and children under 15 make up 30% of those injuries.  We do not need to increase the chance that children will suffer serious burns, lacerations or other injuries to their hands and fingers, legs, eyes, faces and ears.  Thank you for your service and for all you do for Georgia’s children.”

The How:  Click here  for contact information for the members of the Georgia House Regulated Industries Committee.

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Filed under Child Health--Insurance, Obesity, and Other Issues, Our Legislative Agenda, The Informed Advocate

Boulevard Food Coop Opens – and UUCA is Present at the Creation

 

This is the story of the brand new Boulevard Food Coop and UUCA’s role in its creation.

Coop logoIt’s the story about how UUCA members – with a lot of good will, much enthusiasm, some good connections and savvy leadership – helped poor residents of the Old Fourth Ward start feeding themselves.

Food Coop

It began a few years ago … with some milestones along the way. The Food Coop which kicked off on Thursday, November 20 was a very important step! Here’s how it happened …

Promise the Children, UUCA’s advocacy and action group, had been thinking about children and hunger for several years. The congregation’s serious involvement with hunger began three years ago. PTC member Beth Davis had a question: “Almost all the children we tutor at Hope-Hill Elementary get free breakfast and lunch at the school. What do the children eat in the summer?”

From that question grew a two-year project to get half of Hope-Hill students into summer enrichment programs. Those summer programs provide FOOD, as well as learning and a safe environment!

UUCA networked together a group of non-profits and churches that helped the Summer Enrichment program achieve good success. And UUCA became a strong supporter and partner of Operation PEACE, which is one of the best of those After School and Summer Enrichment Programs.

packingAbout a year ago, Promise the Children organized UUCA members for a Thanksgiving Food Drive. Remember last Thanksgiving? About 125 member families participated. We raised money, families donated food, and many helped box it up and deliver it to our friends at Operation PEACE … We delivered – literally – a TON of food to families.

About the same time PTC member Joy Borra began asking a similar question of UUCA’s partners in the Old Fourth Ward (O4W) … and especially of Kwanza Hall, the city councilman for the district. “How many people in the Boulevard Corridor regularly don’t know where their next meal will come from? What can we do about it?” she asked.

Kwanza decided to start a year-long “Working Group on Hunger in O4W,” and all those partners began to look for answers. A long-term solution required long – term, community – wide action … And that’s where UUCA member Annie Archbold volunteered to go to work.

Annie is passionate about food … a real FOOD ACTIVIST! Annie served on the working group’s steering committee. She served as a vital “go to gal” for Kwanza’s overworked staff. Annie did everything. And she gave wise counsel from her long experience at the CDC on hunger issues.

The project that the Hunger Working Group agreed on was to begin a Food Coop. They modeled it on the very successful Georgia Avenue Coop that had existed more than 20 years. It would take a lot of work … but with the right support, the Food Coop would empower poor people to feed themselves.

Another UUCA member had the key to ultimate success. Rob Ohara works for the federal government’s regional VISTA Volunteers program. He heard about the O4W project. “Why don’t you apply for two VISTA Volunteers to do the organizing work that will be needed?” Rob suggested. “There are already VISTAs working with the O4W’s urban gardening program, Truly Living Well. It could be a perfect match!”

The end of the story is that everything came together … with a lot of good will, much enthusiasm, some good connections and savvy leadership …

The new food coop is launched!

Here’s what VISTA Volunteer Sara Thorpe wrote for Kwanza Hall’s Facebook page last week:

Earlier this evening, 15 families from District 2’s Boulevard corridor launched the first resident-run food co-operative for low-income families in the neighborhood. The launch of the co-op was one of Kwanza’s top goals for the 2014 edition of his Year of Boulevard initiative.

The Boulevard Food Co-Op is the result of a year of careful planning and monthly working group meetings in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Truly Living Well Urban Agriculture. The founding families of the co-op come from the Bedford Pines community and the Atlanta Housing Authority’s Cosby Spear Highrise community.

Members pay a one-time $5 membership fee and a $3 charge for each food distribution, which takes place on the first and third Thursdays of the month at our host site, Fort Street Memorial United Methodist Church.

Unlike a typical food pantry, the Boulevard Food Co-Op is a member-based initiative, designed to foster community among its members over time. Members organize and supervise every aspect of the twice-monthly food distribution, from collection of fees and arrangements for child care to the equitable distribution of food and produce among members.

As the founding members become comfortable with their responsibilities, the Boulevard Food Co-Op will expand, welcoming new members and creating new cohorts in 2015. For more information about the Boulevard Food Co-Op, contact co-op coordinator Sara Thorpe: sara.thorpe@trulylivingwell.com.”

Well Done! 

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Filed under Child Health--Insurance, Obesity, and Other Issues, Help for Homeless and Struggling Families, Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership for Academic Excellence, Our Stories

UUCA’s Children’s Sabbath is Sunday, October 19

Sabbath flyer-4

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October 1, 2014 · 1:02 pm

Register for “Lunch and Learn” after the Children’s Sabbath

Lunch and Learn

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October 1, 2014 · 12:26 pm

Bring Many Cans!!!

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Filed under Child Health--Insurance, Obesity, and Other Issues, Help for Homeless and Struggling Families

Telling our Stories: “I can’t feed my children.”

From Joy Borra, member
UUCA’s Promise the Children Advocacy and Action Group
 

 “I can’t feed my children.  They all went to school today without breakfast, and I had nothing to give them to eat last night,” the mother whispered to me.  She was embarrassed, but she was also  desperate and scared.

“My husband left me a few weeks ago; I have five children and no income.  I applied for food stamps but they will not begin until March 1.  I don’t know what to do…. I have no money; no food; no transportation; no family to help me.”

I met her today when I helped conduct a Listening Session on Hunger in the Old Fourth Ward (O4W) at  Hope-Hill Elementary School. Three other sessions had been conducted with parents of young children in other parts of the O4W; this was the last.

UUCA volunteers are doing much of the support work for the two elected officials for O4W – Kwanza Hall and Joan Garner (a UUCA member) – as they begin a six- month campaign to find practical ways to bring more nourishing food into the tummies of children, their caregivers and the elderly in O4W..

During the Listening Sessions I had heard parents estimate that 80% of the poor families in this neighborhood run out of food the last week of the month.

I had heard that for large numbers of people it was hard to get to Kroger, so they bought expensive, processed junk food from the corner stores with their food stamps.

My interview participants said that 50% of the single mothers with kids in O4W really didn’t know HOW to cook.  And everyone said the money they had wouldn’t stretch to include fresh fruit ($5 for a bag!), or vegetables.

Yes, I heard a lot.

But today I was face to face with the pinched face of  hunger.  Here was a mother with five young children, who did not know where their next meal would come from.

“I’m not asking YOU to help me,” she whispered.  “But do you know where I can go to get free food for my kids?”

I found a Good Samaritan to take her to Kroger for food. I got her connected to the school social worker who can help her with other emergency needs and with long-term support.  When I called her tonight, the mom was less scared, and very grateful.

Why?

Why should a 3-year-old be allowed to go to bed hungry?  “A child has no control over the family he is born into,” someone said in every Listening Session I conducted.

Bill Bolling, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, recently wrote an article lamenting, “Why do we blame the poor for being poor? Feeding them when they are hungry is necessary.  But it is not enough.  We must stand with them and change the policies that hold them in poverty.”

AMEN!!!

Join us

What I saw today was that the social justice work UUCA does is important work!

In UUCA’s Promise the Children advocacy and action group, a growing band of “do-ers” is “doing something” about :

  • Children who go hungry.
  • Children who fall years behind in their schoolwork
  • Children who move from foster care to adulthood with no adult to show them the way.
  • Teenagers who are victimized into prostitution
  • Kids kicked out of school or put in youth jails for being absent or for disrespectful behavior.
  • Poor children who have no healthcare for their physical or mental ills.

You can join us!  Talk to us on Sunday February 16 in the UUCA social hall, email us at promisethechildren@uuca.org , or call me, Joy Borra, at 770-498-2356.

You will fit right in!

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Filed under Child Health--Insurance, Obesity, and Other Issues, Help for Homeless and Struggling Families, Hope-Hill Neighborhood Partnership for Academic Excellence, Our Stories, The Informed Advocate

Come to ICM Day at the Capitol: “Have a Heart for Children”

UUCA Members can advocate for the rights of all our children by attending a “Day at the Capitol.” These opportunities to speak with your legislator are sponsored by the statewide Child Advocacy organizations that are partners with UUCA’s Promise the Children Advocacy Group.

If you can make the time, this will be a memorable experience!ICM Heart

The date is Thursday, February 6 and it is sponsored by The Interfaith Children’s Movement, which UUCA helped found in 2001.

When:
Date: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Time: 9:30 AM – ongoing but ends at 3:00 PM
Registration begins at 9:00 AM

Location:
Gathering at Trinity United Methodist Church
265 Washington Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30303
(Immediately down the street from the Capitol)

Never been to a Day at the Capitol?
Here are the “logistics”

Gather at Trinity United Methodist Church, 265 Washington Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 30303 (immediately down the street from the State Capitol).
.
9:00 a.m.: Registration /Continental Breakfast
9:30 a.m. 10:45 a.m.: Orientation and Legislative Briefings.

You’ll receive your ICM “Have a Heart for Children” badge, advocacy training and information to provide to your legislators.

If you have pre-registered, ICM will provide you with the
names and locations of your legislators when you arrive.

Before February 6, call your State Representative and State Senator  and let them know that you will be at the Capitol on February 6. You can find out who they are by visiting http://mvp.sos.state.ga.us/

NOTE:

These activities will be repeated throughout the day. The goal is to have delegations of like-district attendees make  group visits to their legislators.

Once delegations are sorted, you will proceed to calling on your legislators and engaging them in discussions on ICM’s priority issues regarding our children

Word to the WISE – Ride MARTA!  Parking near the Capitol can be impossible during the legislative session.

Advocacy Platform:

Interfaith Children’s Movement’s advocacy platform includes help for Georgia’s children, such as:

JUVENILE JUSTICE

  • supporting full implementation of the new juvenile code, with a special focus on CHINS

CHILD PROTECTION

  • supporting passage of Safe Harbor Act legislation for child victims of sex trafficking;
  • supporting the restoration of $27 million to the child welfare budget

EDUCATION

  • strengthening local school councils and implementing more fair school discipline policies in every public school system;
  • supporting an increase in pre-K enrollment to 80% of eligible four-year-olds;
  • supporting compulsory school attendance from ages five through 18

CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANT FAMILIES

  • supporting successful outcomes for K-12 ELL students through development and implementation of linguistic and cultural training for educators in public schools

PARENTAL NURTURE

  • supporting passage of the Family Care Act and helping parents care for their children and keep their jobs

BUDGET

  • challenging proposals to shift from an income tax to a sales tax as the major source of state revenue

HEALTH CARE

  • supporting Medicaid expansion and a $1 increase in the cigarette tax

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Filed under Child Health--Insurance, Obesity, and Other Issues, Ending Childhood Sexual Exploitation, Events, Foster Care--Transitioning Youth, Help for Homeless and Struggling Families, Juvenile Justice--Student Discipline--Keeping Kids in Class, The Informed Advocate