Contact: Mary Graham at 615-495-9970 or [email protected]
United Ways of Tennessee (UWTN), the Tennessee AfterschoolNetwork (TAN), and Save the Children are hosting a Day on the Hill on March 4thto advocate for optimal spending of the TANF surplus (SB2797/HB2509), to promotethe importance of afterschool programming, and to educate legislators on the needto reduce youth access to vaping products (SB2079/HB2114).
The event includes Advocacy Champion awards for Ralph Baldwin,publisher of the Cleveland Daily Banner, and Rick Meredith, president of the AndersonCounty Chamber of Commerce, as well as Legislative Champion awards for SenatorShane Reeves, Senator Katrina Robinson, Representative Robin Smith and RepresentativeMark White.
“It is essential that we use our TANF reserve funds effectively,targeting them for services that have the greatest impact for families livingin poverty,” said Linda O’Neal, public policy chair for both UWTN and TAN. “We also need to ensure that the state’s Child Care and Development Block Grantfunds are fully utilized each year to support Tennessee’s children and workingparents.”
“United Ways of Tennessee recently released ALICE inTennessee: A Financial Hardship Study. This groundbreaking report reveals that morethan one in three households in Tennessee struggle to meet basic needs, andthat childcare, including afterschool and summer programming, is one of the toptwo expenses for families with children in our state,” said Mary Graham,president of UWTN and lead staff for TAN. “The cost, availability, and scheduling of child care are often barriersto employment. In fact, nearly 53,000 parents of children 5 and younger inTennessee have had to quit a job, not take a job, or greatly change their jobbecause of problems with child care.” Formore information about ALICE, link to: https://uwtn.org/alice.
“Afterschool programming buildssocial-emotional skills, including character development, self-awareness, andresponsible decision-making,” noted Patrick Iannone, TN state director ofprograms for Save the Children and steering committee member of the TNAfterschool Network. “Quality out of school time programming also helps youngpeople succeed in school and gain workforce skills.”
In addition to supporting programming for children, youth,and families, advocates will be talking with their legislators about thedangers of youth vaping. “SB2079/HB2114 is essential. Teen use of e-cigarettes has doubled over thelast two years in Tennessee,” said Graham. “We need to protect our youth from all the harm these products do and toreduce the next generation of nicotine addicts in our state.”
“We are so pleased to present ourAdvocacy and Legislative Champion awards this year!” said Wendy Peay, UWTN boardchair. “Awardees advocated forafterschool, for those struggling financially, for interventions around adversechildhood experiences, and for restrictions reducing youth use of vapingproducts. Their passion and efforts areimproving the quality of life for families throughout communities in Tennessee,and we are grateful!”
Those who are unable to attend in Nashville can participatein the Digital Day on the Hill by following @TNAfterschool and @UnitedWaysTN onFacebook and Twitter March 4th. Share and like posts while using the hashtags#UWTNHillDay and #TANHillDay, and tag your state elected officials. For moreinformation, go to the websites at www.uwtn.organd www.tnafterschool.org.