The Arizona office of Stand for Children just returned from a retreat in Portland, where we got together with Stand’s national staff, and our counterparts in ten other states.
For three packed days, we shared strategies and ideas, and finally met face to face with people we had only known via Skype!
I was already proud of our mission and hard work here in Arizona, trying to make sure every child, regardless of their zip code, is prepared for, and has access to college. But to be in a conference room with more than one hundred others who share that same passion was truly inspirational.
The knowledge exchange alone would have been enough to keep me humming and excited to start new projects when I got back home. But then, our founder, Jonah Edelman, brought out his heavy hitter. He didn’t have to go very far to find a speaker that would make us realize the power of sacrifice, and what can be accomplished when several voices come together as one. He brought in his mother, civil rights pioneer, Marian Wright Edelman.
(Marian Wright Edelman meets Stand for Children Arizona trained parents and student tutors at the retreat in Portland, Oregon)
The original Stand for Children rally in Washington D.C. was her idea, but she was an activist long before that. You could hear a pin drop in the room as she told us how, "We can never forget the courage of ordinary people of grace who changed what they never thought was possible, just because they wanted their children to have an education and a better life."
Sometimes you just need a little history to reinvigorate yourself. Sometimes, a trip back to the roots of a struggle can give you strength to fight on.
Improving education for children in Arizona is a struggle. It would be a tall task even if everyone agreed on the best way to move forward. And we know there are numerous opinions on how to do just that.
But if anything, this blog is just a snapshot of why we at Stand for Children Arizona do what we do. And after this wonderful retreat, it is a renewed promise to never stop fighting for change, and to always put the children first.
Stand for Children Arizona Marketing and Communications Director.