Show Congress the Real and Painful Impacts of Sequestration
Congress believes the effects of sequestration are harmless and can be ignored. Members of Congress are home this month - let's show them just how real and painful these cuts are in their own communities!
Show your representatives the empty seats of Head Start children who cannot attend your program this year because of sequestration cuts. Congress will be in recess on August 5th, so invite your Member of Congress, invite your press and line up empty child size seats or cribs in front of your program building or outside a town hall meeting to show them how many children have lost their window of opportunity!
Join Head Start programs around the nation on the week of August 19th in holding an Empty Seats = Lost Opportunities Event! If you cannot participate the week of August 19th, try to hold your event during the month of August while Congress is in recess.
Click here to register your event.
Photo Credit: Massachussets Head Start Association
Here's how to do your part and get involved:
Host an Empty Seats = Lost Opportunities Event
- Choose a date and location. The National Empty Chairs = Lost Opportunities Day is August 19th, but if you need to participate on another date, just make sure it is after August 5th.
- Decide where you want to hold your event: your Head Start center, your Representative's office, or a town hall meeting.
- Invite your staff, volunteers and parents to participate. Remember: staff should participate in this event only on their personal time.
- Register your event so that NHSA can help spread awareness!
Invite your Members of Congress to your event!
- Find out who your elected officials are and where their offices are located
- Choose one of our invitation templates to ask your Member of Congress to attend the event, to visit your program while the chairs are on display, or to request a meeting in his/her office.
- Be prepared to talk about how sequestration has affected your programs, children, and communities. Make it personal by telling stories. We have some suggested talking points.
- For more information on the effects of sequestration on Head Start, click here.
- Use social media to communicate with your representatives in the House (PDF) and Senate (PDF) about the event.
Invite Media to your event
- Adapt this Media Advisory and send it to local media. Contact us if you need any assistance.
- Take time before or after your event to give press a tour of your center. Share your needs assessment, your annual report, and evidence of the local impact of sequestration. Talk about how deep the sequester cuts are, and the changes your programs and families have had to make.
- Be sure to invite community partners - including local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, board members, religious leaders, etc. They may have their own important thoughts to share with the media about what the sequester is doing to Head Start and the community.
- Make sure members of the press are able to talk to parents and hear stories first-hand.
Follow up with the media
- Be sure to thank members of the press for attending!
- Send the members of the press this Press Release.
- Consider sending photos or other reminders of the event.
- Post photos of your event to Facebook and Twitter while it is happening or after!
Tell NHSA how it went and who you spoke with!
After your event, make sure to tell NHSA about it. Email Kati (email@example.com) the following information. We'll make sure your event gets national attention!
- The press that attended
- The response you had
- Pictures (please note if we can post them to social media!)
- Links to any local press stories that were picked up.
Flyers for download
We've made flyers available for download that you can feel free to give out at your Empty Seats = Lost Opportunities event. The first flyer (PDF) allows you to input the number of kids in your own community that will lose seats. To fill in your information, simply open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader. If you don't have this information available, feel free to use the second flyer with the national data.