Those of you who know me know that I founded the Lead Safe America Foundation with a 3-part mission:
- Emergency intervention and support to families whose children have been poisoned,
- Outreach and Education for the Primary Prevention of Childhood Lead Poisoning, and
- Parent Advocate Support.
Parent Advocate Support is possibly the most important of the three areas. By supporting and nurturing other parent-advocates in the fight to create awareness of the impacts of environmental toxicity on young children, we amplify our message. There’s no question that there is strength in numbers.
One reason I wanted to support other parent advocates is because the expense of being an advocate can be a barrier to advocacy efforts and activities—and this path should not be limited to those who have the personal resources.
Today I went to testify at the EPA “Listening Sessions” on climate change in Seattle (specifically on the topic of “The regulation of carbon emissions for existing power plants”.) I was invited to participate by Moms Rising, and they are generously sponsoring me for the day.
Since I had not recently itemized the cost of an advocacy opportunity, I thought it would be useful to do so in writing here, so people could take a look at an example, and understand the need for these sorts of things to be sponsored by agencies with the means to do so (if you want parent advocates out in the world helping you to create change – they need your support).
My personal actual expenses for today (11/7):
- $24.36 One day of a rental car:
- $36.00 1/2 tank of gas (so far – I’m not home yet!)
- $23.00 Parking in Seattle for 5 hours
- $8,00 – Early morning meal (starting the drive coffee/snack)
- $3.88 – Mid-Drive Snack (3-hour drive)
- $1.99 – Arrival Snack! (for kiddo)
- $20.04 – Snack just before leaving -(“Dinner” for kiddo & mama)
- $6.87 – Mid-ride snack on way home
- $30.00 (got my hair done ($25+ $5 tip) – not essential, but I think mamas should look good when they testify before the EPA and present at a press conference!)*
- $13.00 – Toy-Bribe (for my 8-year old son to come with me for the day)
My total costs incurred so far today: $167.14
Transportation: $83.36 Meals (for 2): $40.07 Other/Incidentals: $43.00
The potential costs for today (costs I may have incurred were I a “normal” working mother or mother with children at home (most mamas are not fortunate enough to have an AMAZING husband at home—holding down the fort and taking care of the three other kiddos while she is off trying to change the world—although I know some of you do!)
- Giving up a day of work? $150+
- Childcare (12+ hours – had I left my son at home or brought a nanny with me.) $144+
- Getting my nails done 🙂 – (Did that for a meeting last week so I was covered!) $45*
So potential total additional costs: $294 to $339
Total costs for one “normal” parent to participate in an advocacy activity (omitting hair/makeup/nails* 🙂 $417.43.
[Also note this does not include a hotel stay, which most “normal” parents might have opted for, instead of driving 6.5 hours to speak twice for two minutes each!]
*While I’m not advocating that everyone should get their hair and nails done for something like this – I think there are definitely advocacy opportunities for which it is 100% warranted [for example, if there is a TV interview]. Putting your best-foot forward by maintaining a reasonable public appearance helps raise the self-esteem of many new advocates (especially those that might otherwise be “stay at home moms”), and can make them a more confident speaker and better representative for the cause. While we all might like to think that first appearances don’t matter, we all know they do—especially when you are engaged in challenging the status quo/fostering change and influencing public opinion—in an effort to shift the dominant paradigm to one that protects children.]
While I would personally love to get every mama advocate out there a manicure 😉 , right now the Lead Safe America Foundation does not have a funded source for granting advocacy support to parents to cover costs like that/those itemized above. We DO however have a program through which we offer FREE websites for parent-advocates in need of a site! This program includes FREE domain name registration, FREE site hosting, FREE technical support and FREE initial WordPress site design and set-up (done by Alicia at Clever Kiwi )! This program is sponsored in part by hosting.com and I am so thankful that they have come on board to help with this project. It was through the involvement of another mama-advocate (who works there and asked them to help in this way) that we were able to secure this generous sponsorship. Thank you so much Kate Blodgett – an awesome mama-advocate (and parent of a lead-poisoned kiddo) in Louisville, Kentucky!
Thursday, November 7, 2013
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