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Children's Defense Fund

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Children's Defense Fund
Monthly Newsletter


35th Anniversary

Write to Congress Today to Ensure Health Coverage for All Children in 2009

Write a Letter Today!As a result of your advocacy efforts over the past year, health coverage for all children, and all people, continues to be a "front burner" issue for our nation. In the next few months, President-elect Obama and the new Congress will consider health care reform, and CDF wants to make sure that any reform legislation includes health coverage for all children. Step up and take action to make this message clear by joining thousands of other child advocates and send a letter to your newly elected Members of Congress today!

Next to an in-person meeting, a hand-written, personalised letter is the most effective way of communicating with your elected official. We make it easy by providing you with step-by-step instructions and guidance on how to craft your letter and who to send it to.

It is critical that we get these letters to Capitol Hill before the new Congressional session begins in mid-January, so please write your letters today to ensure that children are a priority in 2009. Our goal is to generate at least 5,000 letters by January 12. The problem of America's uninsured children is solvable if we all step forward and do our part. Please take action today!

CDF Releases State of America's Children 2008 Report

State of America's Children 2008CDF recently released its State of America's Children 2008 report, a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on poverty, health, child welfare, youth at risk, early childhood development, education, nutrition and housing. The report provides a statistical compendium of key child data showing epidemic numbers of children at risk: the number of poor children has increased nearly 500,000 to 13.3 million, with 5.8 million of them living in extreme poverty, and nearly 9 million children lack health coverage―with both numbers likely to increase during the recession. The number of children and teens killed by firearms also increased after years of decline.

Learn more and download the report.

Help Improve the Lives of Children

Help CDF Stand Up for Children As you count your blessings this holiday season, we hope you will remember the less fortunate children and families among us. In today's tough economy, our children need a strong and powerful voice for the issues that matter. Please show your support today to ensure that the Children's Defense Fund continues to be that strong voice for all of America's children.

With your help, the Children's Defense Fund will demand that our elected officials take critical steps to end family poverty by:

  • increasing the minimum wage to a livable standard and increasing employment opportunities by expanding job training targeted at low-income youth and adults;
  • providing access to high-quality, affordable child care and early childhood education;
  • making college affordable; and
  • simplifying the application procedures for income supplements.

Your tax deductible gift to the Children's Defense Fund will help ensure that we continue to stand up for those children and families who need help most. Don't forget about matching gifts (ask your HR Dept. if your organization will match your contribution and CFC Workplace Giving Drives (CDF's CFC number is 11812).

Honoring Students Who "Beat the Odds"

Beat the Odds California For the past 18 years, CDF's Beat the Odds scholarships have been awarded to hundreds of deserving young people who are overcoming tremendous obstacles in their lives while working hard, demonstrating academic excellence and giving back to their communities.

Earlier this month, five Los Angeles area students were the most recent youth to be awarded the scholarships at an event at the Beverly Hills Hotel. CDF congratulates Ayotunde "Ayo" Ajijolyaiya, Sara Acevedo, Janet Robles, Randolph Burleson Jr. and Cristal Chavez for their courage, resiliency and success. Learn more about the Beat the Odds program, read past recipients' stories, watch a slideshow from past awards events and find out how you can apply for a Beat the Odds scholarship.

Sale! CDF Holiday Cards and Sweatshirts

CDF Sweatshirt (Adult size)

The Sea Is So Wide and My Boast Is So SmallLooking for a Last Minute Gift?

Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman's newest book, The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, is an inspiring call to action for all Americans to address the urgent needs of the country’s youth. The book provides a great message of hope during this difficult economic time.

Find out where the book can be purchased and check out recent coverage of Mrs. Edelman's book, including audio and video clips of recent interviews, on our website.

Interested in Being a Change Agent for Children? Apply to the YALTSM Program!

YALT Are you between the ages of 18 and 24 and have a desire to be a "change agent" for children? If so, the upcoming 2009 Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT) program might be the perfect opportunity for you to develop your knowledge and skills in child advocacy.

CDF's vision is to develop the next generation of leaders who are committed to social justice and improving the lives of all children in America. To help achieve this goal, one of the many programs that CDF offers is the YALT program. During the YALT program, participants are exposed to dynamic workshops and plenary sessions, facilitated action plan development, and targeted training sessions on developing organizing and advocacy skills. Each year, this exciting opportunity attracts hundreds of young adults from across the country for a weekend of knowledge and skills-building at CDF's Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee. The 2009 YALT program will be held March 20-22. Apply today! The deadline is February 4th!

Youth PROMISE Act Helps At-Risk Children

stop criminalization of childrenEarlier this month, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman gave the opening remarks at Congressman Bobby Scott’s youth violence summit entitled Empowering Communities to Combat Gang Crime: The Youth PROMISE Act. This event brought experts together from various fields to focus attention on the need to address youth crime and gang involvement through evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies before serious crimes are committed.

Children are not the only casualty of youth crime and gang involvement—communities suffer as well. Summit participants explored solutions to this problem that would save communities money that could be better spent on programs for at-risk youths.

CDF is also addressing this issue through its Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign, created in 2007 to develop and promote comprehensive policies that invest in prevention and intervention, not punishment and incarceration. Learn more about CDF’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign and the Youth PROMISE Act.

New Orleans Workforce Participation Summit

Cradle to Prison Pipeline In response to our Cradle to Prison Pipeline Louisiana Summit in October, CDF-LA is holding a New Orleans Workforce Participation Summit on January 10. You are invited to join in this very important discussion regarding how our community can create a demand for jobs made available through the rebuilding of New Orleans’ infrastructure. The city, the school board and others will be receiving more than three billion dollars to rebuild schools, police and fire stations, and the federal city in Algiers. We want to ensure that the residents of New Orleans, especially at-risk youths, have fair access to these employment opportunities.

These employment opportunities will provide valuable training and trade skills to at-risk youth, which will help prevent them from falling in to the pipeline to prison, while providing those who may have already fallen victim to the pipeline a second chance at employment and becoming a more positive and productive member of their community.

Please join us on January 10 and step forward to help us to develop a campaign to implement equal workforce participation to improve the lives of our youths and the lives of all New Orleanians. There is no registration fee to attend this event, but space is limited. Learn more and register today!

Join the Movement to End Child Poverty

As we continue to work to end child poverty in our time, we are pleased to announce two opportunities in 2009 for you to get involved with CDF and our partner organizations to help improve the lives of all children.

Ecumenical Advocacy DaysThe 7th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Enough for All Creation, will take place March 13-16, 2009, and will bring together Christian advocates from across the country to learn about the connections between climate change, migration and poverty in the U.S. and around the world.  Visit the Ecumenical Advocacy Days website for more information and to register.

SojournersIn April 2009, Sojourners will host thousands of faithful advocates united in The Mobilization to End Poverty.  This historic gathering in Washington, D.C., will call on the new President and Congress to cut domestic poverty in half within 10 years.  Learn more and register at Sojourners’ website.

Take the next step in solving the problem of child poverty by attending these events and learning more about the issue. 

"Healthy Montana Kids Initiative" Passes at the Polls. Now the Work Begins!
Healthy Montana Kids InitiativeCDF-MT and CDF-MN offices are working hard to ensure the success of the "Healthy Montana Kids" ballot initiative, which won overwhelming support on Election Day.  The initiative will help cover most of the 35,000 children in Montana who do not currently have health coverage.
The Montana state legislature and the Governor will have to enact legislation to approve the funding for the measure early next year.  This is a huge step towards improving the lives of all children in Montana. Learn more about "Healthy Montana Kids" on CDF-MN's website.

Children's Defense Fund
25 E Street, NW - Washington, DC 20001

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