In beginning my final week as a Lutheran Volunteer Corps member, it was initially difficult for me to believe that it’s been nearly a year since I first stepped into the Voices for Children office, until I reflected on how much I’ve learned in my time on the Voices staff.
As a Nebraska transplant, this year has been a fast track to learning about systems that have an impact on children and families in the state, from the unique political structure of the Unicameral to the various community organizations dedicated to child well-being. More importantly, being a part of the passionate and committed team at Voices has given me invaluable insight into the process of analyzing an issue and coming up with meaningful solutions. In order to “tell the whole story” here at Voices, it’s important to understand that one size doesn’t fit all, and taking on different perspectives allows us to find where the obstacles to opportunity are.
Observing and participating in the policy advocacy that occurs at Voices has allowed me to connect my own voice to so many others in the community. Whether I was reading academic journals, interacting with families in community meetings, or listening to experts and citizens at Legislative hearings, it was apparent that seemingly diverse issues and people are closely intertwined. Thinking about how to ensure that all children are happy and healthy from birth through adulthood is a particularly holistic viewpoint. It’s difficult to separate a child’s academic achievements in school from the challenges that their parents face at home or in the workplace, just as much as it’s difficult to talk about economic prosperity in the state without considering racial disparities in the educational, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems.
I was thrilled to accept a permanent position at Voices as the Child Welfare Policy Associate—although that I know it will be a challenging task, I am excited to continue learning about social justice and advocacy in Nebraska with an organization that is committed to listening to and advocating for every child’s voice!