Editor’s note: This year, Voices for Children has been lucky to have Courtnay VanDeVelde with us, serving as a year-long Lutheran Volunteer Corps member. Today, on the last day of her year of service with us, we asked her to share some of her final thoughts.
As I entered my last Voices for Children staff meeting this past Monday, I was filled with a sense of bittersweet emotion. Needless to say, my year at Voices for Children has been an eye-opening experience and I have been honored to be part of such a dedicated and supportive group of staff. Every member of this organization, makes a large contributions toward the mission of telling the whole story for Nebraska’s children.
In reflecting on the year as a whole, I think it goes without saying I’ve gained a plethora of knowledge on the interconnectedness of social justice issues and the direct and indirect impacts on children. The task of creating opportunities for all children to thrive and be successful members of society no matter their gender, social class, or skin color is not surprisingly, quite daunting. Voices for Children’s mission of telling the whole story for Nebraska’s children is not an easy task to accomplish, but regardless we continue to plug away to advocate for changes for current and future generations.
I have been extremely fortunate to be a part of this great team as they’ve helped me explore the inner workings of the Legislature and begin to analyze the areas to help break down this grander notion for the state of Nebraska. Throughout the year, there was always something happening — interactions with staff at the state Capitol, meeting with other policy organizations, hearing stories from citizens affected by various issues, researching and testifying on bills during Legislative hearings.
And although I am saddened to end my experience with Voices for Children, I know that as a member of the community, I can stay informed and be an effective tool for change. It shouldn’t be any surprise that effective policy work is a community involved process. If you have a suggestion to help change the laws that may limit opportunities for children you can be involved by not only contacting your state Senator, but also taking the time to research the facts and tell your story at Legislative hearings!
I’ll leave you all with one last bit of insight: “Experience is not what happens to you- it’s what you do with what happens to you.”