From the Pulpit Back into Policy- Focused on Kids
Craig Stevenson, Kids Win Missouri
During the last several weeks, I have felt my professional and personal lives have collided into new and exciting ways. It is my pleasure to begin serving as the new director of policy and advocacy for Kids Win Missouri.
Three years ago, in 2015, I left the political and policy world to lead a partnership between the Mozambique and Missouri United Methodist churches. What spurred such a drastic change in careers? I answered a call into ministry that had been cultivating from a visit to Mozambique when I was 18 years old. From 2015-2018, I led the Mozambique Initiative, raising more than $930,000 last year for safe water wells, pastor salaries, natural disaster recovery and more.
The experiences of working with those in Mozambique helped me cultivate a new, special compassion for children. I’m humbled to be returning to policy in this new and exciting way—to advocate for issues that will uplift Missouri children–specifically families and children who face challenging circumstances including poverty and abuse.
I’m a Missouri born-and-bred guy. I graduated from Rolla High School in 2006 and went on to become the first in my family to graduate college (M-I-Z). After graduate school, I worked in the Governmental Relations office at the University of Missouri System for five years. Three of those years were focused on federal relations work, and in my last year, I worked in the state legislative arena, primarily on MU Health System issues.
In 2014, my wife, Brittney, and I became licensed foster parents. More than 4 years later, we have had eleven children in our home, ranging from 4-months to 17-years-old.
My interests in helping children and working on policy came together in 2017 when I was elected to my local school board. Through this experience, I’ve learned of the impact that early childhood education and the presence of quality afterschool programs can have on a child.
Without having biological children and only given 3-hour notice before becoming the parent of a 4-month old foster child, I would have been lost without the Parents as Teachers program. Walking alongside the parents of my recently reunified foster children has shown me the importance of creating tax and financial policies that help families succeed. As I hope you can tell, the issues on which Kids Win Missouri works resonate with me and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to connect these issues with the policymaking process.
I look forward to meeting with you. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this new capacity. As we meet, I will be prepared to listen, learn, connect, and work to share our collective stories with elected officials in an effort to advance the well-being of Missouri’s children. If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me at CStevenson@kidswinmissouri.org.