Kimber’s International Day of the Girl Preschool Event

Kimber’s International Day of the Girl Preschool Event

10/19/17

Kimber Huntington Webb is one of CARE Action’s 2017 Advocacy Fellows. She lives near Vancouver, Washington.  As the mother of a preschooler, the stories Kimber hears about girls in developing countries hit particularly close to her heart. When International Day of the Girl (IDG) rolled around last week (10/11), she knew exactly how she wanted to celebrate and raise awareness in her community.  She co-hosted an IDG event for preschoolers and parents.

This is the second year we’ve held an IDG Event at preschool. I was introduced to CARE last year about this time and helped Brenda Rose, my advocacy partner, co-host her IDG event here. This year’s event was super casual, easy to host and only required a couple of crafts, some food and an audience of people we thought would be interested. My daughter attends Mini-Mozarts’ preschool, and when I asked the owner about using her location, she said, “of course.”

We specifically wanted an event that included preschoolers, older kids and parents. I know a lot of parents at this school are open-minded, but maybe not very familiar yet with advocacy and the foreign assistance policy budget.  We thought a lot of them would really appreciate the work CARE does, especially on the advocacy side of things right here in our own districts.

Instead of anchoring our event around a big presentation about CARE and IDG, we just introduced ourselves and talked with parents one-on-one around the tortilla griddle and craft tables.  Preschool is a very casual space and I didn’t want people to feel intimidated or think we were asking for money.  I wanted them to have a fun, cultural experience with their children and learn more about the advocacy side of CARE’s mission.

We focused on Guatemala as our theme because I recently traveled there on a Learning Tour with CARE. My friend brought her pancake griddle and we had the kids make fresh tortillas.  They got to mix up the corn powder and water and squish it up between their fingers. That was a hit.  Then they put it on the griddle (with help, of course), cooked their own tortillas and ate them. I made some beans, put out several salsas and fresh mango and talked about the foods children eat in Guatemala. We also brought some worry dolls, talked about that tradition and let the kids take some home. They loved it.

We also set up a friendship bracelet craft area to make those colorful braided bracelets that originated in Central America.  We put out thread, yarn and printed instructions and let the kids mess around with that. It turned out though, the parents were the ones who really got into making them and they were very studious about it. We had some great conversations at that craft table about foreign assistance, girls, CARE and the work we do right here in our own districts as advocates.

We also set up an area for older kids to write Letters of Hope to girls living in refugee settings. I put together a cork board with some information from CARE’s website and a few Letters of Hope from other kids so parents could get a sense of what CARE is trying to achieve.  We had the smallest children draw pictures of hope, which was pretty sweet.  We also had a video playing in the background with short clips of CARE’s work.

By keeping things casual, which is all you can do in a room full of preschoolers, we were able to have some very deep conversations with several parents about the issues we’re advocating for in our district with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler.  A couple of parents really connected with CARE’s mission, especially regarding family planning programs, and they’re now eager to get involved with CARE. A couple of them are even planning on attending our next in-district meeting with the Congresswoman.

It’s incredibly important to educate and expose kids to the world at an early age, even as young as preschool.  The more exposure they get as children, the more aware they’ll be as adults. The world could use more advocates, and it starts by educating our younger generations.

Given the current political climate, a lot of parents are trying to figure out ways to get their children involved in something. They’re looking for ways to speak out and help make a difference. I think this can be especially challenging for women.  A parent told me just the other day that she was protesting at an event when it started to get out of control.  She got scared because she’s a mother and responsible for young children. She didn’t feel safe and she left the protest but she still wants to participate and be involved. That’s one of the great things about CARE.  You can be impassioned and civically active without being on the physical front lines and you really make a big difference.

 

 

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