Speak Up for Kids Day Frequently Asked Questions

What is on the Speak Up for Kids agenda?

The morning portion of Speak Up for Kids includes a visit from state legislators, in 2018 Representative Lois Landgraf, R-El Paso County and Representative James Coleman, D-Denver, tips for effectively communicating with legislators, an overview of some of the key bills we are tracking and time for honing and practicing your message. After the instructive portion of the day, participants divide into small groups and head to the Capitol to observe the legislative process in action and speak with the legislators who represent them. Following our time at the Capitol, we reconvene as a group for lunch, debrief, skills building workshops, reflection and inspiration to continue to speak up for kids.

Who should attend Speak Up for Kids?

Anyone who wants to be a voice for children in our state. Parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, educators, providers, students, non-parents—you name it! Anyone who cares about creating a healthy and nurturing future for Colorado children is welcome to join us. We especially encourage new participants who have not previously been part of Speak Up for Kids.

I have a lot of advocacy experience. Should I still attend?

Our primary focus is on emerging child advocates who do not have much experience with policy advocacyWe encourage those who have participated in Speak Up for Kids multiple times to take on a leadership role as anadvocacy coach or advocacy coach assistant.. I know very little about the legislature. Should I still attend?

Yes, please! The primary purpose of this event is to help people with no legislative experience learn that they really do have the power to make a difference. We will provide training materials before you arriveand offer teaching and practice sessions on the morning of Speak Up for Kids, so you’ll feel well equipped to speak with your legislators. We also match participants with an Advocacy Coach to help navigate the Capitol and their conversation with elected officials.

How should I prepare for Speak Up for Kids?

Know who your legislators are and what they stand for. We will give yousome of this information to before the event, along with tips for effectively communicating with legislators and an overview of current legislation that affected kids.You can start researching your elected officials now to get a head startGreat resources for this are www.votesmart.org and leg.colorado.gov/. The more you know about your legislators, the easier it will be to establish a relationship with them when you meet face to face.

Will you provide childcare?

Though we are not able to provide childcare onsite to Speak Up for Kids participants, we do have a limited amount of financial support available for those who need it. Please indicate on your registration form that you are interested in childcare assistance and a staff member will follow up with you.

What if I don’t agree with all of the policy positions that Speak Up promotes?

Part of what makes democracy work so well is the wide array of viewpoints we collectively bring to the table. We recognize that while we all want what is best for kids, we may not agree 100% of the time on the best approach. If you come to Speak Up for Kids but do not agree with all of our policy positions, we ask that you speak up for the cause you believe in but do not speak out against our initiatives.

I live outside the Denver metro area, how can I be part of Speak Up?

Speak Up for Kids is a successful event because of the participation of advocates from across the state. Legislators listen more closely when they hear from constituents who live in their district and our goal is to speak effectively with as many legislators as possible about the importance of kids’ issues. Thus, we have a limited amount of financial support available for mileage reimbursement for those participants traveling longer distances to participate in Speak Up for Kids. Please indicate on your registration form that you are interested in travel assistance and a staff member will follow up with you.

I work for a nonprofit, can I still participate in Speak Up for Kids?

Speak Up for Kids is hosted by three nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations and the vast majority of our participants come from nonprofit organizations as well. Different nonprofits have different levels of comfort with advocacy and lobbying activities and may operate with different expectations. It’s always best to talk with your supervisor or board of directors to ensure you understand your organization’s advocacy guidelines.

My organization would love to be part of Speak Up for Kids, how can we be involved?

We rely on fellow nonprofit organizations to help spread the word about Speak Up for Kids and to guide participants through the lobbying process. We’re fortunate that Speak Up has established a strong reputation over the past 7 years and has sold out each year thanks to our partners support. In 2018, we are asking our peer organizations to help make Speak Up possible by providing an advocacy coach for the event. Please contact Lauren Gennaro (720) 777-2897 or lauren.gennaro@childrenscolorado.org to learn more about how your organization can join the effort.

I have more questions about Speak Up, who can I talk to?

If you have any additional questions that have not been addressed here, please contact Jacy Montoya Price at 303-620-4547 or jacy@coloradokids.org.