We were about halfway through session when I found myself at the Capitol in a hearing room at 2 a.m. waiting to comment on a big school-related bill. The bill included some pretty big cuts to our school health infrastructure. We were opposing and it is part of my job to share these concerns with lawmakers.
When Session gets going, it’s not uncommon for our lawmakers to work into the wee hours to get as many bills through the committee process as possible, which means advocates like us are there, too. Due in large part to some misguided wardrobe decisions and a failure to bring a snack (even though I knew it was going to be a late night), I was freezing, sleepy, and hungry. Some people like to learn lessons the hard way, and I’m like the poster child. But when the section of the bill I was waiting for was finally up for discussion, something kind of amazing happened. I wasn’t tired, hungry, or even borderline hypothermic anymore. Instead, I was alert, taking notes, and glad to be there. I thought this was so strange and found myself asking the very same question our team here has been addressing in this "Share Why You Care” blog series. I remember asking myself, "How is it that no matter how tired I am, if we start talking about health, fitness, or nutrition I feel energized. And why?”
For me, the answer ended up being pretty simple: because if I’m not working to ensure a kid gets to see a doctor when they need one or that a student gets to run around like a maniac on the playground, then I’m not really supporting what I love about life. It would be like saying all of our polices and priorities are just fine the way they are, and they’re not.
I’ve seen firsthand the resiliency of the human spirit and it is an amazing and beautiful thing, but it needs support to thrive. As a case manager at an earlier job, I sat with women who tapped into every bit of strength they had to escape an abusive relationship. I’ve watched people persevere through personal tragedy, succeed when they thought they couldn’t, and turn a small opportunity into a life-changing event.
Policy isn’t a perfect science, but it’s a means to provide opportunity, support, and encouragement for the best in all of us. I’ve personally experienced what can be accomplished when someone believes in you. Most simply, that’s the world I believe in.Editor's note: This is part of our Share Why You Care series, where members of our staff and network share why children should be a focus in these critical weeks leading up to the election and the months before the legislative session. To check out earlier contributions, read a contribution from CEO Eileen Garcia, juvenile justice expert Lauren Rose, child welfare expert Ashley, and membership director Sondra.