Author Archives: C Fortune

  1. Nominate Local Advocates & Organizations for the 2024 Amplify Awards!

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    We are seeking nominations across the State of Virginia for the 2024 Amplify Awards.


    Past Award Winners


    We want to amplify the voices of local advocates and organizations through the recognition of their contributions during the 2024 Amplify Awards Ceremony as we kick off the celebration of 30 years of advocacy for Voices for Virginia’s Children on the evening of September 12th, 2024, at Main Street Station in Richmond, Virginia.

    The honorees will have the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments in front of a statewide audience of legislative champions and fellow advocates. A committee of volunteers will evaluate nomination submissions and select the honorees.

    Eligible nominees include organizations and individuals involved in public policy, advocacy, public awareness, program development, grassroots organizing, data analysis, research, or other civic or community-level service. Current elected officials or anyone running for elected office are not eligible for the Amplify Awards.

    NOMINATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY 11:59 PM on MONDAY, MAY 20th, 2024


    Award honorees must demonstrate:

    • Efforts focused on young people to promote positive and equitable outcomes;
    • Dedication to young people who have been impacted by systemic injustices
    • Work that inspired local, state or national policy change or informed policy conversations
    • High ethical standards; and
    • Value for the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

    Specific criteria for four award categories include:

    1. Emerging (individual)
      1. Work in policy/advocacy for no more than five years
      2. Introduced new approaches that shaped policy or systems change
    2. Established (individual)
      1. Active work in policy/advocacy for more than 20 years
      2. Consistent commitment to policies to improve equitable outcomes for children and youth
    3. Youth led (organization/group)
      1. Leader of the effort is not older than 25 years old on September 26, 2024
      2. Incorporated youth voices and leadership into approach
    4. Healing centered (organization/group)
      1. Internal shifts in practice recognizing and reflecting trauma to promote healing
      2. Includes the voices of those directly impacted in shaping organizational approach

    NOMINATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY 11:59 PM on MONDAY, MAY 20th, 2024

    Winners will be announced in early June.

    SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATION HERE

    Questions should be directed to info@vakids.org

  2. 2024 Summer Communications Internship Announcement

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    Voices for Virginia’s Children is thrilled to open the application period for our 2024 Summer Communications Internship!


    Are you (or someone you know) a current college or master’s student (or recent grad) interested in learning more about cause-based communication and marketing strategy and how non-profits tell their story? Does brainstorming creative strategies for social media, fundraising, and stakeholder engagement sound exciting to you? Are you looking for an opportunity to build your professional experience while supporting an outcomes-driven organization that advocates for the well-being of young people across the State of Virginia?

    This may be the internship for you!

    How You’ll Grow:

    • Writing: The intern will support the curation, development, and copy editing of online and print content that can be added to their professional portfolio.
    • Social Media Management: The intern will develop their skillset for creating, editing, publishing, and reporting on social media marketing efforts.
    • Communications Strategy: The intern will learn and develop their communication strategy through participation in regular strategy, planning, and implementation opportunities.
    • Project Management: The intern will be given a number of projects to manage and own during the internship to develop their management skills.
    • Collaboration: The intern will learn how to manage multiple stakeholder groups and projects.
    • Development Communications: The intern will learn how communications and development work hand-in-hand in non-profit environments and develop collaborative projects involving donor communications

    Structure of the Internship:

    The internship offers an hourly rate of $15 and will run from June 14 to August 16 in a hybrid format, offering a mix of remote and in-person work totaling 20-30 hours per week. Onboarding will include team introductions, subject matter deep dives, and ensuring the intern is set up for success from day one.

    Interns will receive regular 1-on-1 meetings with their supervisor for mentorship and progress reporting, as well as attend virtual learning sessions and professional development events of their choosing, all supported by a generous stipend.

    Don’t miss out on this chance to jumpstart your career in communications while making a difference in the lives of Virginia’s youth. Apply now to join our team and be part of something truly impactful!

    Applications due by April 19th, 2024 at 5:00 PM. 

    Apply Here

    Questions? Contact info@vakids.org

  3. Collaborating for Change: Prioritizing Legislative Outcomes for VA Youth 

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    This winter, the Voices team had the pleasure of engaging in several advocacy days with our partners, coalitions, and community members to increase awareness, uplift critical policy areas pertaining to youth well-being, and to demand a shift in the prioritization of young people during Virginia’s legislative session.

    As we reflect on the many conversations, workshops, rallies, and legislator visits we organized, supported, or participated in, we’d like to share some of the highlights from those experiences captured by our team in the last two months of session:  

    Virginia Promise Partnership Advocacy Day  

    Voices for Virginia’s Children and 100+ early childhood educators joined forces on January 25th for Virginia Promise Partnership Advocacy Day. With a shared goal of historic investment in Virginia’s early childhood education system, this collaboration aimed to propel positive change. The advocates passionately highlighted the urgent need for increased financial support, emphasizing the critical role of early childhood education in shaping a child’s future. This Advocacy Day marks a milestone in the ongoing journey towards a stronger, more equitable foundation for Virginia’s youngest learners—a collective promise to invest in the limitless potential of the next generation. 


    Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Day of Action 

    (Pictured: Senator Hashmi and partners from The Commonwealth Institute (TCI), CASA, Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association) 

    This legislative session, we have worked closely with our partners in the Healthcare for All Virginians (HAV) Coalition to advocate for “Cover All Kids” legislation that would provide comprehensive health coverage to children regardless of their immigration status, as well as our priorities to increase language access at state agencies, fund Community Health Workers, and provide a Medicaid benefit for nutritious food. On January 29, we participated in the HAV Day of Action and met with legislators and their staffers to discuss our priorities.  


    Mental Health Advocacy Day 

    (Pictured (L-R): Delegate Cherry, Stephen Grinnell (NAMI VA), Maggie Finn (NAMI VA), Maria Dierdorf (Mental Health Advocate), Lauren Oberholtzer (MH Advocate), Cat Atkinson (Voices for Virginia’s Children)

    Mental Health America and NAMI Virginia brought together mental health advocates from across the Commonwealth to speak with legislators about their experiences navigating the state’s mental health system as workers, consumers, patients, and family members. This was a day of brave truth-telling, vulnerable narratives, and honest conversations about the state of mental health for both adults and young people. It was an honor to be witness to such stories and in a community with such changemakers. 


    PUSH Coalition and Maternal Health Advocacy  

    (Pictured: Emily Moore and PUSH Coalition partners from Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Birth in Color, and Richmond Memorial Health Foundation) 

    Voices has worked closely with our partners in the PUSH Coalition for Maternal Health this year to make progress on a bill that we have been working on for three legislative sessions–unconscious bias training for licensed medical professionals. Senator Locke, who carried the bill, introduced the PUSH Coalition on the Senate floor on February 6, sharing with her Senate colleagues about the work our organizations do to advocate for improved maternal health outcomes. 


    Foster Care Caucus Meeting and Advocacy Day 

    The recent Foster Care Caucus Meeting and Advocacy Day brought together advocates, policymakers, and community leaders in a dynamic effort to drive change. The Caucus Meeting held by Senator Emily Jordan and Delegate David Reid sparked collaborative discussions among elected officials, addressing pressing issues in the foster care system, while Advocacy Day hosted by the Children’s Home Society saw passionate individuals advocating for reform at the Capitol. From impactful moments celebrating small victories to the emergence of a committed network, the event’s ripple effect continues through social media and grassroots efforts, raising awareness and support for foster care reform.  


    Fund Our Schools Lobby Day 

    Voices is honored to support Pretty Purposed for their third year of state-level advocacy. This year we joined forces to support the Fund Our Schools Coalition Lobby Day, advocating for fully funding our schools for better school conditions, improving school based mental health, and more restorative practices in school discipline. 


    As we move towards the last month of this year’s legislative session, we are grateful for the group of amazing partners who rally alongside us in doing the critical work of making a better Virginia for our young people.  Through our active participation, leadership, collaboration, and support of advocacy days and coalitions, we strive to enact meaningful change and create a brighter future for generations to come.