Make a Difference! A Year of Parent Advocacy and Empowerment

First 5 LA is all about helping to improve the lives of children ages 0-5 in Los Angeles County, and advocacy — from supporting research to championing causes that help children — is a big part of what we do. As a parent, you know best when it comes to your child’s strengths, challenges and needs. And as a parent advocate you can work to help all children succeed, including your own. Advocating for your child, family and community can help improve the lives of many people.

Here are ideas for making a difference as a parent advocate throughout the year — starting now:

2018

October 1: Who is running in elections to represent you and your community this November? What are some important issues on the ballot? Begin learning about local elections to make a difference on Election Day.

October 22: Voter Registration Deadline! Register to vote today if you haven’t already. Your voter registration must be postmarked or submitted electronically no later than October 22 for you to be able to vote in this year’s elections.

October 27: National Make a Difference Day. Advocacy is action. What can you do to improve the lives of people in your family and community?

November is Child Safety Protection Month. What is your greatest concern about your child’s safety? Speak to other parents; ask questions, brainstorm resources and solutions, and work to address your concerns.

November 6: Election Day. Make your voice heard and be sure to vote today!

November 22: Happy Thanksgiving! Today is also National Family Health History Day, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Learning about health issues that run in your family can help you advocate for more effective health care.

December 2: National Special Education Day. This is the anniversary of the first federal special education law, signed on December 2, 1975. The law requires access to education for all children, including those with disabilities.

December 9: International Children’s Day. Learn more about advocacy through First 5 LA’s Early Childhood Matters newsletter. Sign up to receive it for free.

December 31: New Year’s Eve. What do you hope to advocate for in the coming year? List three things you would like to achieve for your child, family or community.

2019

January 1: Happy New Year! Want to learn about joining other parents in advocating for a healthier environment this year? Check out Moms Advocating Sustainability. Or, to join a network of moms advocating for a variety of other issues, check out Moms Rising.

January is Mental Wellness Month. If you have concerns about your child’s development or behavior, speak to your pediatrician. Click here for information on screenings.

January 12: Become informed about your rights and responsibilities for your child’s education.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Make sure you and your family are up to date on dental visits and cleanings. Check to see if low-cost dental care is available near you.

February 8: Do you have a child who will start kindergarten in the fall? Here’s a good resource on local charter schools, in case you want to explore your options.

February 15: Check out the different ways First 5 LA advocates for policies in support of children ages 0-5 in Los Angeles County.

March is Developmental Disabilities Month. Learn more about LAUSD Early Childhood Special Education programs.

March is parent-teacher conference month. Remember, asking is advocacy. Create a list of questions and concerns about your child before your meeting.

March is National Nutrition Month! Learn more about ways to get healthier meals in schools, like through the Healthy Schools Campaign.

April 1-8: National Library Week. Build your child’s relationship to their community, attend sparent-child events and find resources at your local L.A. County Library.

April 22-26: National Playground Safety Week. Learn about ways to make playgrounds safer places for children to play.

April 30: LAUSD Open Enrollment for K-12 begins. If your child is entering kindergarten in the fall, it is important to register them for school.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Learn more about early identification of possible language problems.

May 20: LAUSD Open Enrollment period ends. Last chance to register for school!

May 24: Consider joining a nonprofit advocacy group, like Speak Up, which advocates for better programs in public schools.

June is National Safety Month. Protect your own health and the health of your family by learning more about having a safer and healthier home and work environment.

June 16: Happy Father’s Day!

June 28: Insurance Awareness Day. Look into low-cost or free insurance for you and your family.

July: Is your child up to date with their immunizations? Check with your pediatrician to make sure.

July 1: Find a low-cost or free preschool by searching your area.

July 20: Advocate for child summer safety. Print and share our First 5 LA summer safety checklist.

August 1: Strengthen the family community around you and consider hosting a parent/child book club. Here are some good book ideas and tips.

August 17: Consider volunteering for Action for Healthy Kids, an organization that promotes healthy and active lifestyles for kids.

August 22: Consider donating pencils, markers, notebooks and other school supplies to your child’s classroom. Contact their school or teacher for more information and ways that you can help.

September 3: Join the Parent Teacher Alliance (PTA) at your child’s school. Keep up to date with what you can do to make their school year healthier and happier.

September 14: Heal the Bay’s Coastal Cleanup Day. Help keep L.A. County beaches beautiful by joining the world’s largest volunteer day to protect our environment.

October is National Child Health Month. Learn more about advocacy for children’s health through Family Voices of California, a statewide network of parent-run centers dedicated to quality health care for children with special health care needs.

October 1: Are you up to date with your child’s health care needs and vaccinations? If not, make sure to schedule a physical at your pediatrician’s or family doctor’s office.

October 20: Get ready for Election Day by learning about candidates and issues. You can make a difference with your vote this November!

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