We’ve got some exciting news.
Nearly two years ago, Communities Creating Opportunity and Kansas City-area public health departments created the Raising of America Kansas City (ROAKC) coalition. It was a bold project, uniting people and organizations from across the region around the simple principle that an investment in early childhood protects the future of our community.
The first phase of this work has been hosting screenings of the excellent documentary for which the coalition is named: The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, which will air on PBS nationally this fall.
Since hosting the Kansas City premiere of the documentary we have helped host screenings throughout the metro. To date over 700 people have participated across sectors including government, faith, social service, insurance, academic, community, and health professional sectors.
Recently, 100 attendees watched the film at Union Station – what happened next was thrilling.
Mayor James announced his support for the project, saying that it will be promoted in partnership with his office, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Central Exchange.
And City Manager Troy Schulte announced that as of May 2016 Kansas City, Missouri is implementing a paid parental leave, which provides 6 weeks paid leave to families who have a birth or adoption. This is huge. It demonstrates how bringing people together to discuss a challenge and propose a solution can result in tangible and systemic change! Here is the link to the full ordinance.
Additionally, Wendy Doyle, CEO of the Women’s Foundation, announced that the Women’s Foundation will lead the development of a tool to show how area businesses stack up in terms of family-friendly workplaces. Businesses will be encouraged to compete with this market-based solution to convey their commitment to healthy children and working families.
We are thrilled by these successes – and it shows how a bold vision can lead to powerful, real change for the people who need it.
We would love for you to stay connected to Raising of America Kansas City’s work. We can support your community or organization in pursuing:
● Local and state policy proposals and ballot initiative petitions
● Resources to screen the documentary, including a toolkit and discussion guide designed specifically for partners in the Kansas City metro
● Training seminars on advocacy and community engagement for individuals and organizations
● Connections to other stakeholders in the region, including facilitation support for the screening and panel discussion of the documentary series
If you want to host your own screening of The Raising of America, we want to help. It is a powerful, thoughtful film that cuts through politics and focuses our attention squarely where it belongs – the challenges facing children in their most vital years of development.
Great change has begun. You can be a part of it.
Thank you for all that you do,
Mary Cosgrove Spence (CCO) & Jackie Powell (Kansas City Missouri Health Department)
Raising of America Coalition Co-Chairs