Parent Spotlight ― Cassandra is a mom and educator from Kansas City who loves to create community with other parents!

Cassandra Bruington is a mom and educator from Kansas City. Cassandra became interested in advocacy when she began working with the Parent Leadership Training Institute in Kansas City, building her leadership skills and finding her voice. As a mom of a three year old, Cassandra knows how important it is to focus advocacy efforts on policies related to early care and education, and has decided to use her voice as a ECE Leader Fellow to bring more parent expertise to these policies. Get to know Cassandra here!

How did you become an advocate for early childhood education?

At 21 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound specialist noticed and I was diagnosed with my child loss with spina bifida and I went in for surgery in utero. He had a diagnosis that meant I would spend the final trimester of pregnancy on bedrest. We went into surgery on March 9, and March 13, which was a Friday we came home. I had a hard time navigating this period, and realized then how crucial it is to have someone advocating for you, even if it is only you yourself.

Why do you think it’s important to be an advocate as a parent?

As parents and providers, we are our children’s first line of defense. It’s so important for us to go ahead and ensure our children have the freedoms, opportunity, and preparation they deserve. All children are important and need a community of advocates. Our children are our most valuable gifts and resources – they will be, do, and believe the way we direct them to; that is a beautiful reality depending on how we take on the responsibility.

Why should Missouri invest more in child care and early education?

Missouri is a state of so much rich history and potential. We have the opportunity to guide the country in its policy and initiatives that support  children. We have an opportunity to change the trajectory of our children’s futures by investing in them.

In one sentence, what does the ideal child care and early education system look like for Missouri families?

The ideal child care and early education system prioritizes, empowers, activates, and mobilizes parents as partners.

What is one thing you’ve learned about advocacy that you’d like to share with others?

I’ve learned that everyone is an advocate. The power of advocacy is illuminated and activated by voice and community. So often this work feels like you’re doing it alone, but that’s not true. The truth is organizations like Kids Win Missouri empower us to tell our stories and make change happen sooner than later.

Any additional comments?

I have a Parent Plus community on Facebook that encourages and supports parents with resources like Kids Win Missouri. I love hosting Parent’s Nights Out around the city because parents get to lean into their identity as human, first and get the refresh and recharge needed to continue to parent…in community with other powerful parents!

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