Parent Spotlight – Kelly is a mom from Diamond and fierce advocate for her kiddos!

Kelly Spencer is a mom from Diamond who has always had a passion for advocacy and believes that recognizing the lived experiences of people is the best way to be an advocate for them. She has also learned as a mom that a child’s most important advocate is that child’s parent. Kelly is a leader within her community and is committed to providing more spaces for parents like her to share their experiences with people in power in the hopes of creating change. Get to know Kelly here!

How did you become an advocate for early childhood education?

I was recommended to this program by my current network of community resources.

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

As my child’s parent I have first hand knowledge of the needs specific to my child and have experienced the challenges navigating through the options available. It is important to be an active first line of support for my child. I know my child better than anyone. There are so many parents out there struggling and even more parentless children. I can only parent so many children. However, my single voice and actions can advocate for many.

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

Children are the future and early intervention is key.

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

A system that provides multiple multifaceted program options that encompass a safe, consistent, and nurturing environment while promoting the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of children.

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

Many individuals feel compelled to see positive changes around them, yet few feel prepared to engage in advocacy. However, the opportunity is out there to step out of the exhausting passive role of simply bearing witness and into an active role as a leader and advocate for the changes you want to see. Every experience you have in life creates a lesson learned and leads to knowledge. Sharing that knowledge with others could be the inspiration needed. Somewhere out there is an individual struggling the same as you. Who better to light the way than an individual that has firsthand experience? A single candle can shed light, and by joining together, the flame can glow so brightly that it is impossible to ignore.

Any additional comments?

I simply want to be proactive and do my part in ensuring that providers’ voices are heard, parents’ struggles are validated, and children’s needs are met. I can only do so much. However, it is so much more than doing nothing at all!

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