Thousands expected at Florida Capitol for Children's Week

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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
March 27, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- As many as 4,000 children and their parents are expected at the State Capitol tomorrow, taking part in Children's Week. The Rotunda in the Capitol was decorated over the weekend with thousands of colorful hands drawn by children from Key West to Pensacola.

Children’s Week organizer Jason Zaborske says since kids can’t vote, their strength is in numbers.

"That’s really our biggest strength. The advocates and the community is that we can tell the story and we can show what is working and what is not working. We can explain those things to policy makers so they can understand and can streamline and make sure government works better and funding is adequate enough to provide the quality of service that we need to deliver services to children and to seniors," Zaborske says.

A storybook village will occupy the Capitol courtyard on Tuesday as elected officials take turns reading to kids. Teens will also testify about services before the Children and Youth Cabinet tomorrow as well.

For more information, visit www.childrensweek.org.


By: Mariel Carbone
March 26, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV—Volunteers, took a “hands on” approach at the Florida State Capitol on Sunday.

Various groups spent the day hanging tens of thousands of tiny paper hands around the Capitol rotunda, decorating the space ahead of the annual Children’s Week. The cut out hands are submitted from children all across the state and are intended to put a spotlight on children’s issues.

"Every legislator, anyone who is going to pass a law, is going to see and realize, ‘the laws we are making impact children,’” said Alan Abramowitz, Director of the Statewide Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program.

The hands come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Some, displaying messages; others, with names and ages written across them. Strung all together, the hands create a paper chandelier over the building.

"It's hard not to pay attention to the little details of all the artwork,” said Morgan Evers, with the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend. "Law makers are from different parts of Florida so I think it's neat for them to be able to walk in here and say, 'those are from some of the kids where I'm from and I serve.'"

Children’s week runs through March 31, with the biggest day being Tuesday.

That day is deemed, “Children’s Capitol for a Day,” with the courtyard open to the public from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Children can participate in the “Storybook Village,” which includes interactive reading booths and activities. More than two dozen children’s books will come to life. And, all children will receive a free book.

Tuesday also includes a “Teens Only” Town Hall Meeting from 10 to 11:30 a.m. And, a Young Lives Matter event from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Children’s Week is put on by the United Way of Florida and more than 100 statewide partners. Organizers said the groups don’t really have a legislative agenda, but rather a common goal: giving a voice to the children.

“Each (one of us) has different priorities when it comes to children and families and we want them to be able to get their word out,” said Jason Zaborske, the Statewide Coordinator of Children’s Week. “It’s a way for everyone to be able to come together, work together so that we streamline inefficiencies, we make sure budget dollars are going to where they need to, and policy makers hopefully allocate the necessary funding for all the programs and services that holistically make Florida great for children.”

For more information, visit www.childrensweek.org.



 
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