I was writing down my daily to-do list when I noticed the date. Somehow, as if in a time warp, I realized that I’d been working at Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) for six months.
Part of the reason it startled me is that I feel as if I just started, yet when I look back on everything this team has accomplished in that small time span, it feels like years. While I’ve been here, SCAN has:
- Hosted a powerful and inspiring Advocacy Summit;
- Organized a “Week of Action” in support of Head Start and another on maternal, infant and childhood health;
- Influenced and encouraged lawmakers to support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act—which now has nearly 200 cosponsors combined in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives;
- Helped protect vital funding for early childhood education programs such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG);
- Placed more than 20 letters to the editor written by SCAN advocates in local newspapers across the country;
- And so much more.
I worked in the international development sector prior to this position, so I was very familiar with Save the Children and its work when I applied for this role at SCAN. I’d worked on indirect lobbying efforts, but this was my first opportunity to participate in direct advocacy. It was also my first experience working with domestic issues.
I had no idea how inspiring and energizing it would be.
Every day, I see students—ranging in age from high school to college—building support for our issues in their schools through clubs, tabling events and social media outreach. I see adults who volunteer their time to lobby federal, state and local lawmakers on issues that impact children. I see my coworkers’ ceaseless devotion to protecting and advocating for effective policies. And I see how all of this, collectively, works.
Too often, we hear people say that they’re overwhelmed by the amount of need and suffering at home and around the world. They want to help, to make a difference. But what can they do? Each of us is only one person, after all.
After working here, I know one voice can make a difference. It can make all the difference! One more call to a legislator, one more conversation with our local school board member, one more signature in support of vital programming—it all adds up to so much more. It’s the layers of individual voices that make our collective impact strong.
Now when people ask “but what can I do?” I know my response. Use your voice. Take action. Now more than ever, we can’t afford to be spectators on issues that matter to us.
As Eglantyne Jebb, the founder of Save the Children, said nearly 100 years ago: “Humanity owes the child the best it has to give.”
If the best you have to give is your voice and your vote, know that is more than enough.