The National Head Start Association’s (NHSA) First Advocates Pilot Project will nurture parent voices and empower a select group of Head Start parents as leaders who can carry out a variety of strategic advocacy activities in their communities and around the nation.
NHSA’s First Advocates Pilot Project is a parent-training program designed to cultivate Parent Advocacy Ambassadors. In 2014-2015, parents from Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina will have the opportunity to apply to the program.
With support from the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and in cooperation with state and regional Head Start Associations, NHSA will add authentic, rarely-heard voices to local, state, and national policy conversations about early learning by training parents in the art of advocacy.
The development of strong parent voices in each of these states will enable elected and appointed officials at every level to hear directly from constituents who, based on their own experiences, will be able to effectively and knowledgably advocate for the preservation, improvement and expansion of Head Start and quality early learning opportunities.
Throughout the year-long training program, First Advocates will be trained by NHSA staff, their peers, and state and regional associations in Washington, D.C. and at home in:
- How to effectively communicate their story and message.
- How to engage state and national elected officials.
- How to organize their peers and community.
The trainings will also provide parents with an understanding of the most recent research on Head Start, the annual federal budget process, the debate on sequestration’s return in 2016, extension of the MIECHV program, improvement of child care subsidy systems, and the eventual reauthorization of Head Start.
At the end of the training program First Advocates will be able to effectively and knowledgably advocate for the preservation, improvement and expansion of quality early learning opportunities like Head Start. They will have the skills necessary to speak to the press, meet with their state leaders and truly become their child’s first advocate!