Hundreds of Ohioans Gather at Statehouse to Celebrate Families with Young Children, Launch of Groundwork Ohio’s Family Action Network
Gov. DeWine, State Policymakers, and Community Leaders Welcome Groundwork’s Family Action Network, Encourage Families to Elevate Their Voices in Policymaking Process
COLUMBUS, OH – Yesterday at the Ohio Statehouse, Groundwork Ohio officially launched its Family Action Network, a powerful and diverse statewide coalition of Ohio families with infants, toddlers, and young children who will engage with policymakers on the issues that matter most to them and their families. At the Family Action Network launch event, roughly 700 Ohioans – including parents, grandparents, foster parents, kinship caregivers, their young children, community partners, and policymakers – gathered in the Capitol Atrium to share their stories with state legislators and celebrate the power of family voices.
At the launch event in the Capitol Atrium, families were greeted with welcoming remarks from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who encouraged families and caregivers to elevate their voices, share their stories, and engage in the policymaking process.
“As the number one people in the lives of children, you play a vital role in Ohio’s future, and you are a valuable source of information about family issues,” said Governor Mike DeWinein his recorded remarks. “I encourage you to share your stories and your concerns with Ohio’s policy and lawmakers whenever you have that opportunity, but especially today during this celebration of families.”
“All too often, policymakers don’t truly understand the challenges Ohio families are facing today. Ohio families deserve a seat at the table when it comes to the policies and programs that affect the healthy development of their young children,” said Shannon Jones, President and CEO of Groundwork Ohio. “Policymakers must listen to families, value their voices, and respect families as the experts of their own stories and experiences.”
“Parents and caregivers are powerful agents of change. Groundwork Ohio is honored to invest in the leadership of Ohio families through our powerful statewide Family Action Network,” said Cherrelle Turner, theDirector of the Center for Family Voice at Groundwork Ohio “We look forward to continuing to partner with families to elevate their voices and empower them to engage in advocacy and policymaking – whether in their own communities or at the Statehouse.”
During the launch event, members of the Family Action Network also had the opportunity to hear a bipartisan panel of state policymakers discuss the importance of constituents meeting with policymakers to share their voices and experiences.
Following meetings with state legislators, early childhood stakeholders, community leaders, advocates, and policymakers joined the Family Action Network in the Statehouse for Groundwork’s Family Celebration. Built with families and young children in mind, the Family Celebration featured children’s entertainment, music, and popsicles, as well as guest remarks from Director Lydia Mihalik of the Ohio Department of Development and Franklin County Commissioner Erica C. Crawley.
The inaugural Family Action Network includes families from every region of the state, including rural, suburban, and urban areas. Groundwork Ohio will continue to engage these families and grow the Family Action Network, providing accessible opportunities for them to inform policy development and engage in advocacy opportunities.
VIDEO: Hear from members of Groundwork Ohio's Family Action Network and other Ohio families on why policymakers must listen to families with young children.
To learn more about Groundwork Ohio’s Family Action Network, please visit www.groundworkohio.org/familyaction
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Groundwork Ohio is a committed, nonpartisan public-policy research and advocacy organization formed in 2004 that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families, and communities. Learn more about Groundwork Ohio at groundworkohio.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.