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For The Children Weekly Column

Roadshows, Report Highlight Advocacy Across the State

September 27, 2021

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column

Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone: (405) 833-1117

Email: jdorman@oica.org

Roadshows, Report Highlight Advocacy Across the State

Over the past two months, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has had the pleasure of traveling to different venues around the state to learn about programs supporting children and families.

These stops have been organized by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth (OCCY), the state agency charged with oversight of concerns with other state agencies providing services for youth and help complete their 2021 State Plan for Services to Children and Youth Survey. This report provides Oklahomans the opportunity to inform about how well you know about resources provided by Oklahoma and whether you use them.  Please fill out your survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OCCYStatePlanSurvey so you can also be included.

These “roadshows” have provided great insight into the work being done by communities, nonprofits, state agencies and caring individuals who want to make a positive difference. At each stop, we strictly followed health department guidelines regarding the COVID pandemic. Many thanks to those who have also worked to keep people healthy while continuing ongoing missions.

Our first destination was Custer County. The day started with me and Annette Jacobi, the OCCY executive director, visiting a local radio program hosted by my former colleague and friend, Harold Wright, to invite others to join our stops.

Our meetings began with a chamber of commerce gathering with local political and business leaders at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Through the rest of the day, we toured a domestic abuse shelter, a homeless shelter, a free clinic for those in need, and a day care providing scholarship care for those who could not afford assistance otherwise, while visiting with those receiving services.

Our next trip was to Tulsa, where we visited with nonprofit organizations, toured the juvenile justice center, and learned from a program providing needed prescriptions through doctors to those in poorer areas. A roundtable discussion with leaders in the judicial system, scholars, and advocates working for the mutual goal of helping others concluded the Tulsa visit.

The third trip took us to Lawton, where we again met with community leaders. We followed this by visiting Teen Court, a program designed to provide a fair hearing for youth that is presided over by a judge, but with the “attorney” roles being filled by peer youth; the juries also are made up of high school students. This allows justice-involved youth, those who have been in the court system, an opportunity to see the system from a different perspective.

We also visited the Life Ready Center (LRC), an innovative education model providing enhanced learning in specific curricula. LRC supplies Lawton Public Schools with “Maker Spaces” in all elementary programs, Lawton Technology Application Programs in middle schools, and offers STEM, STEAM, University Center, Tech Center, and Equalizer classes for all local high schools. There are approximately 500 students enrolled in 21 courses, many taking more than one subject.

Each trip has provided important insight about the work being done locally to help youth. As we approach the end of this round of visits, we will tour programs in Oklahoma City, Tahlequah, and Ardmore. We are planning visit several other counties and communities in Oklahoma over the coming months. If you have something in your community that you wish to highlight, please reach out to me at jdorman@ocia.org or call me at (405) 236-5437 ext. 4 so we can properly learn about your community and your work during a future stop.

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