What ideas do you have to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children?
Children and children with disabilities are Oklahoma’s most vulnerable populations next to the elderly. We must do everything possible to being advocates of children, advocate for children well-being and mental health, and focusing on providing a high quality education. Health, wellness, nutritional, and mental health needs are crucial in the development of children.
Childhood obesity and Diabetes rates are very concerning to me. Childhood obesity has tripled in the last ten years as a national epidemic. Childhood obesity in Oklahoma in 2016 was 13.8% for 2-4 year old WIC participants, 33.8% children ages 10-17 years old based on BMI, 17.3% for high school students. In 2016, there was zero dollars allocated for obesity health reform.
Diabetes rates for children are on a rise in Oklahoma. Nationally, “132,000 children and adolescents younger than age 18 years old had diagnosed diabetes”. Adult diagnosed diabetes costs an estimated $3.8 billion in Oklahoma each year” (ADA-Oklahoma) Parents, caregivers, and schools need access to current information and programs that support educational opportunities so they are informed about nutritional and physical needs of children to reduce Type 2 diabetes as adults. They also need access to community grocery stores so they have convenient access to fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole food options.
Bottom line, by championing and leading the investment in these programs, we will reduce health care expenditures and meet the needs of Oklahoma children. I will be proactive instead of reactive.
What have you done to support children prior to this election?
My community involvement continues today. I serve as a Mustang Public Schools Foundation (MPSF) Site Representative, MPSF Spotlight on the Arts Entertainment, Decoration, and Donation Coordinator and Committee member, Mustang High School Art Club Volunteer Co-sponsor, DECA Fashion Show Model Selection Judge, 2018 Industrial Arts Competition Scholarship Committee member, and Mustang High School Hospitality Committee member.
I’ve coordinated and volunteered a hands-on children’s art tent at the Southwest 29th District Annual Dia de los Ninos Festival for several years. I facilitated the logistics and installation of the 2018 Mustang Public School District Spring Art Show. I’ve served as the Oklahoma Student Art Exhibit (OSAE) Visual Arts Scholarship Event (VASE) and live auction Volunteer Coordinator and Oklahoma State Fair Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator to install the OSAE 1,000 piece student art exhibit. Additional Activities:
Campfire Kids Parent Sponsor, Fillmore PTA Member, Fillmore Fall Festival and Carnival Volunteer
United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd (UMCGS): Committee Chair for Christ in Action, Committee Chair for Children’s Day Out, Children’s Ministry Member, Children’s Choir Volunteer, Children’s Sunday School Teacher, Children Programs, Annual Pumpkin Patch Volunteer, UMC Church Camp Craft Leader-Canyon Camp
I have been an Oklahoma educator for over two decades. I have worked with children Pre-K-12. I hold teaching certificates in: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Visual Art, and Special Education-Learning Disabilities. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and a Master’s degree in Special Education Learning Disabilities.
What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected?
Families are our future in Oklahoma. Family is one of our core values: a family of related individuals or a family of nurturing friends. We have to focus as a legislature to advocate for all members of every family. Restoring funding to core-services, financial opportunities that support family needs (Earned Income Tax Credit). Revisiting and evaluating criminal justice reform, reducing the incarceration rate, protecting all students that attend schools, and making sure they have a caring, safe, and supportive environment.
For Oklahoma to have a strong economy, we have to have a healthy population. Access to fully stocked grocery stores, affordable medical and mental health care, health and wellness educational information, and nearby safe places for outdoor physical activities. Quality of life in Oklahoma means doing whatever it takes to support a constructive home environment. Having access to support groups when an infant comes home, developmentally appropriate early childhood education, advocating and advertising about the Project Child Find program, supporting parents of children with disabilities from birth through adulthood, affordable child care, educating children, supporting programs that help educate parents on parenting skills, increasing graduation rates, mandatory GED classes for all that are incarcerated. Mentorship programs for high school students, teachers with less than three years of teaching, and those with emergency certificates. Offering re-skill training opportunities for our workforce through schools sites and career techs. Support the ‘Strengthening America Communities Act of 2013’ as a state. We can do more for improving the quality of life of every Oklahoman.