How Sweet it is to Advocate for Kids

The Student Council of Academia Ana Marie Sandoval elementary school in Northwest Denver knows a lot about sweetness. A primary goal of these young student representatives is to get sugary chocolate milk included in school lunches! It’s a long shot, they know, and will require a lot of work and negotiating.

Although the students are busy working on behalf of their classmates at Sandoval, they still found time this Valentine’s Day to advocate for ALL kids in Colorado.

Last week the student council worked with parents and SCAN volunteers to produce valentine cards asking lawmakers to prioritize kids by investing in early childhood education. The cards included phrases like, “Have a Heart for Kids” and “Be my Valentine, Invest in Kids.” Prior to Valentine’s Day, the council reserved a craft table at the all-school sweet heart dance where dozens of students personalized the cards with glitter, stickers, drawings and handwritten messages. The masterpieces were then gathered together for action!

On Valentine’s Day, the colorful cards were delivered to every one of the 65 representatives in the Colorado House of Representatives. The student council delivered them in-person to the state capitol. Representative Dan Pabón (representing a majority of the students’ families) met with the student council to discuss their “asks.” He shared examples of what lawmakers can do to improve the lives of kids in Colorado.

Rep. Pabón also introduced the students from the floor of the House of Representatives. He highlighted their work to expand early learning. As the students toured the capitol building, they met with four more lawmakers, including an extended visit with Senator Lucía Guzmán, who represents the area where Sandoval is located.

“The kids learned that they have access to decision-makers, that their voices can be heard,” said Jenna Farley, a SCAN volunteer and a parent at Sandoval. “Hopefully, they understand that they have the right to ask for things that benefit kids, including effective policies.”

The student’s valentine cards were undeniably sweet, and the council’s visit to the capitol was likewise heartwarming. This was just one example of how powerful advocacy can be, and how committed kids are to doing what is right by their classmates and their peers state-wide. It was inspiring to see the students organize, advocate, and ask decision-makers to help improve the lives of children across Colorado.

Check out more photos from across the U.S. highlighting the Have a Heart campaign!

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Annalise is the Colorado mobilization manager for Save the Children Action Network. Throughout her career she has led humanitarian, development, and human rights campaigns. She has worked extensively in Latin America and has carried out focused projects in Asia and Africa. Annalise received her Master of Arts in Latin American studies from the University of California, San Diego, and holds a certificate in international human rights and humanitarian law from American University, Washington College of Law.