Community Advocates come in all shapes and sizes. Whether working individually or as part of a group, volunteers are instrumental in promoting community change and furthering the Whole Child philosophy. The Whole Child Connection has flyers, brochures and other materials that we are happy to provide you to distribute to others via mail, payroll stuffers or simply handing them out. In addition, we welcome opportunities to speak in front of groups, so please invite us to your meetings. More specifically, here are some ways you can help:
Individual or family
- Get to know and offer support to neighbors and coworkers with young children
- Invite another family to join you at your place of worship and introduce them to the congregation
- Purchase toddler toothbrushes and give to families with young children as a reminder that dental care should start early
- Donate professional clothes to single moms who are trying to enter the workforce
- Share information or tickets to a concert or other community or cultural event with a family who has young children
- Say a kind word to a harried mom with a cranky child in the grocery store
- Help a neighbor or co-worker compare child-care providers and learn more about how to make a good choice
- Establish a mentoring program with a local child-care provider
- Assist with providing child seat safety programs
- Help to provide medical exams for young children
- Work within your own business to become a Family-Friendly Worksite
- Assist the United Way of the Big Bend in their annual campaign
- Educate your members by having a speaker from Whole Child Leon discuss the mission of the project
- Join the Friends of Whole Child Leon or the Professional Network
- Let your imagination run and find the perfect project for your organization – Contact Whole Child Leon.
Here are some examples of local civic groups getting involved with young children:
- Florida District of Kiwanis International has stepped forward on two occasions to help the Department of Health raise the percentage of infants under 2 years old who have been fully immunized. The Tallahassee Northside Kiwanis Club and the Tallahassee Kiwanis Club have been especially active in projects such as Shots by 2 to remind parents by postcard and telephone when their babies’ shots were due. Other clubs around the state carried on similar projects. The percentage of infants under 2 with all their shots passed 85 percent in ’05 and is headed for over 90 percent. When infant immunizations began to slip, the Department of Health called on Kiwanis and Dr. Wil Blechman of Miami, former president of Kiwanis International, for help.
- Diaper Drop is a program conducted by Kiwanis clubs in Tallahassee, Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, Second Harvest Food Bank, Wal-Mart, and others to provide diapers for needy families. They collect the diapers and provide them to non-profit organizations that serve women and infants such as ECHO. No baby should have to sleep in a wet diaper.
The Academic Community
The Academic Community is a critical partner in building a Whole Child Community. We are proud to have the involvement of:
- Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
- Florida State University
- Leon County Schools
- Tallahassee Community College
- University of Florida Leon County Extension
How We’re Working Together–If you are interested in becoming a Whole Child Advisor and helping your community, call us at 850.414.8344.
The Business Community
The support of business leaders is vital to insuring that every child in our community has the best start in life. In the private, public and nonprofit sectors, individual leaders can set the example and take action to support young children and their families. Investing in children’s early care makes economic sense. Children who are successful in their early years are better able to achieve higher education and job training as an adult.
Family-friendly business practices are a critical link to keeping businesses and workers on track. Research tells us that family-friendly working conditions allow employees to more easily strike the work/life balance. Companies benefit from improved employee retention, morale and productivity. The inaugural Family Friendly Business Award was presented in June 2007 through a partnership with the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.
Here are ways you can support families in the workplace:
- Develop family friendly policies to help your employees manage the work/life balance. Offer alternative work schedules that allow employees to adjust arrival and departure times or days of the week to accommodate school and child care schedules. Include time off for parent/teacher conferences and school events in employee leave policies.
- Evaluate your employee benefits. Child care benefits, maternity and paternity leave policies and pre-tax flexible spending arrangements that allow employees to pay for child care with pre-tax dollars help employees balance the needs of work and family.
- Host Lunch & Learn sessions for parents and caregivers on topics such as how to choose quality child care.
- Learn more about the needs of young children in our community. Share the information you learn with other business leaders in your company and around the community.
- Advocate with state and local policy makers for increased resources for early childhood programs. Your voice makes a difference!