The Future Begins at Fall Forum
The Future Begins at Fall Forum
For the past two decades, the premier event to develop a legislative agenda to improve children’s quality of life is the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s annual Fall Forum.
Each year, child advocates and youth organizations from across the state gather to discuss the most critical issues that will affect children. The goal is to amplify those issues that are positive for youth and mitigate problems that create a poorer environment.
This year’s Fall Forum will be held the mornings of October 20, 21, 22, and conclude on Monday, October 25. Owing to the continuing pandemic, we are conducting this year’s Fall Forum like we did last year’s – across the Zoom platform. Lawmakers, policy experts, and advocacy professionals are on the agenda to help develop the legislative agenda.
The cost to participate in Fall Forum is very reasonable, only $50 for individual tickets. However, several generous organizations have made it possible for youth-oriented nonprofit organizations across the state to participate in Fall Forum for free this year. OICA is grateful to the Schusterman Family Foundation, the Merrick Family Foundation, Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, Paycom, the Arnall Family Foundation, and others who have made these scholarships possible.
So, there really is no excuse for any youth organization to not participate in Fall Forum and let their voices be heard on these issues. If you are part of a youth organization in any community across Oklahoma, take advantage of this incredible opportunity to help shape the future with no cost. To apply for your scholarship, go to https://oica.org/fall-forum-scholarship-application/ and fill out the form.
The theme of this year’s Fall Forum is “There is No ‘I’ in Quaranteam.” Workshops will be held on a variety of issues followed by advocate feedback sessions to develop a legislative agenda to present to lawmakers before the 2022 session of the Oklahoma Legislature.
Among the topics to be discussed are:
- A panel discussion on efforts to improve overall children’s health.
- Youth mental health.
- Food insecurity solutions.
- Federal relief funds.
- Economic stability for Oklahoma families.
- Child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
- Technology use/broadband access.
- A panel discussion with state lawmakers.
The Fall Forum also includes a keynote address about improving Oklahoma laws for protecting youth against sexual assault.
In conjunction with the final day of Fall Forum on Monday, October 25, we will have our annual Political Hacks Chili Cookoff. This will be a fun way to conclude the discussions, and we are also partnering with the Oklahoma Blood Institute to hold a blood drive on that Monday. You will be able to vote online for your favorite chili after you drive through at our office and pick up the samples to take home or to your work.
Cooks will get the opportunity to show off their chili-making skills or stop by and try some truly outstanding creations, including my very own vegetarian chili to honor OICA’s partnership with “Double Up Oklahoma” during a pickup during lunch.
Full information, and links to Fall Forum and Chili Cookoff sponsorship opportunities, ticket purchases, and scholarship applications for Fall Forum all are available on oica.org. In reality, the work never ends for child advocacy, but with Fall Forum, you have a voice to help shape how 2022 will look for suggesting the best policies for children.