Juniors’ Special Project:
Advocates For Children
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Everything the organization does is centered on finding cures and saving children. And families never receive a bill from St. Jude.
GFWC Juniors’ Special Program:
Advocates for Children
GFWC Juniors’ Special Program: Advocates for Children is designed to encourage all Women’s, Junior, Juniorette, and International Affiliate clubs to make a difference in our world by becoming advocates for children. Members may choose to organize projects that benefit children in their community, state, or the world.
While project ideas are numerous, clubs are encouraged to educate themselves regarding current issues facing our children:
Teen dating violence
Texting while driving
Depression and suicide
Foster care and adoption
Limits on screen time
Childhood safety issues
GFWC Advocates for Children Week
Sunday, October 24, to Saturday, October 30, 2021
Calling attention to the GFWC Advocates for Children Week from October 24 thru October 30, 2021, I would like to remind you of one focus of GFWC are the Arts.
Art curriculum for all students including those with disabilities stressing the value of art and outdoor programs.
There are many benefits to including art in a child’s life whether it be visual or performing.
- Art is a way to express creativity and to use that creativity in dealing proactively with all future issues with self-sufficiency.
- Art is a way to interpret our own emotions and understand oneself better.
- Art embellishes, decorates, and enriches objects and our surroundings.
- Art adds humor to our lives.
- Art provides therapy that helps the creator and the viewer better understand a problem and solution.
Improving the lives of children through the arts can be a gateway to improving their lives as healthy adults thus creating a vision of Peace.
As you contemplate your project to showcase advocating for children from October 24-31 consider the following ideas:
Adopt a classroom within the school system of your community, the local churches, or Head Start program to provide art supplies.
Conduct an art supply drive within your club or community for children in a domestic violence shelter/ children’s home/rehabilitation center
Support after school arts programs at libraries/after school care centers
Organize an “artist in residence” program for children inviting a children’s book author/local artist.
Sponsor a group of special needs children and their parents to attend an arts event.
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
— John F. Kennedy
The March of Dimes promotes “prematurity awareness” month during November. A March of Dimes tool kit for baby hats and blankets can be found under the GFWC website resources. www.marchofdimes.org
Directions for creating a fundraiser for St Jude include a run/walk, virtual game night, designer purse or basket raffle. www.stjude.org
The PEAL Center, Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership Center has offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and serves families across the state. The mission of the PEAL Center is to educate and empower families to ensure that children, youth and young adults with disabilities and special health care needs lead rich, active lives as full members of their schools and communities. https://pealcenter.org
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM Foundation) supports programs, research, and activities that promote music making across the lifespan through its signature programs. They provide a promotional tool kit for award promotion to raise the visibility of local music education programs at elementary and high school levels. www.NAMMFoundation.org
The Pennsylvania Association for the Blind has various programs supporting and educating visually impaired children. Call individual county agencies for their needs and for volunteer opportunities. www.pablind.org www.theblindassociation.org
The Ronald McDonald House offers many opportunities to support and volunteer such as Projects of Passion, pop tab collection, toy and food collection, ad “give a stay” providing housing for families during the child’s hospitalization. Various Ronald McDonald houses are located throughout the state. www.rmbc.org/otherwaystohelp
Sleep in Heavenly Peace
As we continue to advocate for children, I would like to introduce a nonprofit group that puts a different spin on promoting and supporting child health by providing a sense of dignity, security, and comfort. Did you know that many children in our communities do not have beds, but sleep on floors, on blankets, or on sofas? These are the conditions that agency social workers and police often find when they are called into homes due family situations. A bed is a basic need for proper physical, emotional, and mental support of a child. When good sleep is elusive, a child’s ability to function well in school or play is impaired. SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE (www.shpbeds.org) is a 100% volunteer and donation driven (501)3c national organization whose mission is to “end child bedlessness and ensure NO KID SLEEPS ON THE FLOOR IN OUR TOWN.”
“Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”
— Fred Rogers
SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE is a nonprofit organization that partners with the community to build twin beds for kids from raw materials complete with mattresses and bedding. Local chapters include volunteers dedicated to building, assembling, and delivering top-notch beds to children and families in need. There are 200 chapters nationwide and thousands of volunteers dedicated to sharing awareness of this national problem. In addition to working at the local level, this national organization has provided disaster relief in the Nashville area tornados and the California fires.
There are four chapters in Pennsylvania: PA-Elizabethtown 17022, 844-432-2337 Ext 5921; PA-Luzerne County, Harvey’s Lake 18618, 844-432-2337 Ext 5932; PA-Mars 16046 844-432-2337 Ext 5954; PA-North Central, Lock Haven 17745, Ext 5922.
How can your club get involved? Host a bedding drive for new mattresses, pads, fitted sheets, pillows, blankets and comforters. Monetary donations to local chapters are welcome with 80% of donations going to bed building and the delivery process and 20% going to tools and fundraising.
In reading club reports for Advocacy for Children, many clubs provide Christmas gifts of toys and clothing for children. Nationwide, few organizations provide for beds and bedding. Give it some thought!
Please share information with this chairman about your volunteer efforts, projects, and programs supporting the Juniors’ Special Project: Advocates for Children via phone, email, or postal mail.
Remember to keep track of your volunteer hours, financial and in kind donations, and your projects for reporting. Take credit for your work!
“Children are one-third of our population and all of our future.”
— Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981
Join a Club Near You
Reach out to our membership chairman for help finding a club near you.
For general inquiries, contact Headquarters below or the Chairman of a specific program or advancement area.