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March 2, 2017
This week, CCC volunteers, YouthAction Members, and staff boarded a northbound Amtrak train to meet with state legislators in Albany about CCC’s budget priorities for the upcoming year. We talked to legislators and their staff about the budget items we believe will keep NYC children healthy, housed, educated, and safe, and the items we believe will be detrimental to children and families. We urged lawmakers to support a range of proposals, from raising the age of criminal responsibility to enacting the Dream Act and increasing the number of days youth can stay in Homeless and Runaway Youth shelters.
We also asked lawmakers to reject harmful proposals, such as cuts to the Foster Care Block Grant, NYC’s school-based health services, NYC’s General Public Health Work program, and others, and asked them to add or restore funding for programs and services like the Foster Youth Success Initiative, children’s mental health services, home stability support, and high quality child care.
Check out what volunteers and YouthAction Members who attended had to say about the day:
“My favorite part of the trip was telling my opinion to assembly members and their workers and advocating for subjects I feel really strongly about. I learned that although not everyone agrees with your opinions, for the most part they will listen. I participated in advocacy day because I felt strongly about a lot of the topics we talked about and felt that drastic changes would be made if we (youth plus CCC members) didn’t advocate for them. To me, advocating means voicing your opinions for things you believe aren’t right, or need to be changed.” –Elizabeth Roytberg, United Nations International High School student and YouthAction Member
“Advocacy day was an extremely rewarding experience for me. I felt empowered to be able to voice my concerns about the budget, and get a behind-the-scenes look of what it’s like to govern a state!” – Larissa Morimoto, United Nations International High School student and YouthAction Member
“My favorite part of Advocacy Day was being able to talk to Jesse Hamilton because he’s a very down to earth guy. I learned a lot about Albany’s history, and how it came to be our capital [as well as the capitol building’s history]. I participated in Advocacy Day because it’s a special day that recognizes the freedom that we as people in the U.S. exercise to be able to speak up and have our voices heard. Gandhi once said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I have found myself through advocacy, for it allows me to be part of the change that I wish to see in the world.” – Jennifer Martinez, Millennium Brooklyn High School student and YouthAction Member
“It was a very good day, meeting some very receptive legislators who knew Stephanie [Gendell, Associate Executive Director for Policy and Advocacy] and showed so much admiration for her. And meeting some new people in my group and of course enjoyed the good weather.” —Elaine Kessel, Board Member
“It was indeed a great day. Thanks to you and Stephanie and staff for your amazing organization and leadership. Special kudos to my group leader Grant [Cowles, Senior Policy and Advocacy Associate for Youth Justice]. He was outstanding as were our youth. They did us proud.” –Harriet Mauer, Advocacy Council Co-Chair
“Thanks for the opportunity to advocate for NY’s children! Great experience, wish I could go next week!” —Mary Barbuto, 2016 CLC participant
Next week, some volunteers and staff will be headed back up to Albany to advocate specifically to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York. Amplify their voices by asking your legislators to support Raise the Age legislation.
You can also ask your legislators to support some of our key budget priorities and save and strengthen services for abused and neglected children.