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Become an Advocate for Children

To be an advocate means "to speak for" someone. Children need advocates. Most children are unable to join in public debates and discussions about how to create policies and programs that will help create healthier children and financially stable homes. Advocates can speak for children in many ways, including voting and volunteering.

In order to be an informed advocate for children, learn more about children and families in North Dakota and review information and data on this website and others.

Other ways to help include:

Join our mailing list (click here) for regular updates on children's issues or email us with your name, email address, and affiliation (if any).

Support our efforts by providing us feedback and ideas for future North Dakota KIDS COUNT projects.

Tell your elected officials that you support investments in children's health, education, and well-being. Tell them you are a constituent and that you support their policy work that keeps children healthy and educated.

Of all forms of communication, e-mails, form letters, and petition signing are the least effective. They often give an impression of the signer being less connected to an issue. However, individually signed personal letters are viewed very positively. Suggestions for your letters include the following:

1. State your purpose in the first paragraph. If you are writing about a particular bill, identify it clearly in the first paragraph.
2. Explain the importance of your position.
3. Identify yourself and your organizational affiliation (if any).
4. Keep the letter concise. Address only one issue. Use only a few sentences in each paragraph and appropriate spacing between paragraphs.
5. Whenever possible, personalize your story.
6. Be sure to include your address, so your legislator knows you are a constituent.

Contact information for national representatives is located at https://www.senate.gov and https://www.house.gov. Contact information for state representatives is located at https://www.legis.nd.gov/information/general/contact.html.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper praising your lawmakers' actions
for children, or suggesting positive alternatives to ineffective policies. Suggestions
for writing letters:

1. Keep it short. Most newspapers want letters to be no longer than 150 words.
2. Make one point. State it clearly and concisely, ideally in the first sentence.
3. Make your letter timely. If you are not addressing a specific article, editorial or letter that recently appeared in the paper you are writing to, tie the issue you want to write about to a recent event.
4. Members of Congress use the newspapers to stay in touch with what is happening in their district. Keep this in mind as you write. Try and mention your Congressperson's name.
5. Find others to write letters when possible. This will show that others in your community are concerned about the issue.

Elect candidates who support children's issues. Ask persons running for elected office what they plan to do to support children's well-being in our state.

Volunteer for a program that contributes to children's lives, such as a local Head Start or after-school program.

Start a program that promotes children's well-being, such as a mentoring or internship program for teens.

Donate money to organizations that enrich North Dakota children's lives.

Encourage others to get involved, too.