'Children's Week' Where Advocacy Groups Check to See if the Kids Are All Right

Apr 14, 2015

“Early education is invaluable;” that’s the message driven home at the Business Leaders Luncheon, held as part of the 20th Annual Children’s Week, which helps child advocacy groups highlight their agendas.

Credit Florida Department of Children and Families

Jason Zaborske, coordinator for Children’s Week, says that one big part of getting that message out is the “hanging of the hands” event.

“At the Capitol, we hang over 100,000 paper cutouts of children’s hands, and that’s come to be the signifying visual for those folks visiting the Capitol, and it’s a reminder to legislators and policy makers that we need to keep children’s issues at the forefront of our discussion during session,” Zaborske says.

One of those issues is early education. That’s where David Lawrence Jr, chair of the Children’s Movement of Florida, comes in. Since retiring from his 35 year journalism career, he’s dedicated his time to advocating for the importance of early learning.

“I spend all my energies investing in the early learning years, where 85 percent of brain growth occurs by the age of 3,” Lawrence says.

Lawrence spoke further about his support of early education reform at Monday’s Business Leaders Luncheon.

“I am one of those who believe that the smartest thing you could possibly do for public education reform in Florida and America, is not fix the fourth grade, or the seventh grade, but deliver the children in far better shape to formal school than so many of them are,” Lawrence says.

Events will continue through the week as advocates highlight the needs of children in Florida.

“Tuesday, April 14th is our big day at the state capitol where we provide over 3,000 lunches for children and families for free, and over 120 different information and activity booths for children and families to visit at the state Capitol,” Zaborske says.

According to Zaborske, kids will also have a chance to be active in government.

“One thing that Children’s Week has started is actually the Florida Youth Commission. We have been hosting the teens-only town hall meeting for many years,” Zaborske says.

The Youth Commission advises the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet and even proposes legislative changes.