Sarah King '18 and Sheila Ramirez '18 Attend Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C.

May 4, 2017

By Katelyn Ellison

Sarah King '18, a communication and politics double major from Cumberland, R.I., and Sheila Ramirez '18, a social work major from Lawrence, Mass., attended an Advocacy Summit to Washington, D.C. on behalf of Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network, from March 26-28. King serves as an advocacy ambassador for Save the Children, an international organization that promotes children's health and wellbeing. Knowing her interest in Save the Children's mission, King selected Ramirez to attend the summit with her. Ramirez will now serve a one-year term as an advocacy ambassador as well.

King and Ramirez participated in trainings, conferences, and workshops that focused on access to early education programs in the United States. They also addressed how to end preventable deaths of newborns and mothers worldwide due to premature births or complications during birth. In addition, they heard from keynote speaker, Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of former Vice President Joe Biden. Dr. Biden spoke about her experiences working with children.

While in D.C., King and Ramirez lobbied on Capitol Hill by asking members of Congress to sign "Dear Colleague" letters supporting funding for Head Start programming and foreign aid funding. They also asked members of Congress to cosponsor the "Reach Every Mother and Child Act," a piece of bipartisan legislation that aims to utilize proven interventions to end preventable deaths and promote sustainability and development within the country.

King met with the Rhode Island and New Hampshire delegations, while Ramirez met with those from Massachusetts and Hawaii.

"I was really excited going to the summit for the first time," said Ramirez. "To be in a room full of advocates was inspiring. I met so many interesting people all with different stories to share. When hearing Save the Children Action Network's mission of early childhood education and ending preventable deaths for children and mothers, I knew I was in the right place. On the day of advocacy, I was partnered with a woman who has been a Head Start teacher for over 20 years. Lobbying on Capitol Hill with her was an experience that I will always be grateful for."

King had also traveled to Washington, D.C. last year on behalf of Save the Children. "It was amazing to return to this summit one year after my first experience! I came into it this time with a much deeper understanding of the issues and a firmer grasp on the skills necessary to lobby on Capitol Hill," she explained.

Since their return to Saint Anselm College, King and Ramirez have been working to provide information about the value of early childhood education to those on the campus. They have been collecting signatures on petitions for Head Start funding, and passing out informational materials.

Photo, courtesy of Save the Children