Lisa Scheer is the Director of Baden Christian Child Care Center in St. Louis, Missouri and knows the importance of nurturing, caring adults in the life of children, particularly after overcoming obstacles in her own childhood. Read her amazing advocacy journey below.
How did you become an advocate for ECE?
I became more vocal as an ECE advocate during the COVID-19 Pandemic, because it was impossible to not see the inequalities in the field. And I am a firm believer in not complaining about something, instead doing something about it. Because the ECE field/model is broken, it’s a great opportunity to fix it!
Why do you think it’s important to be an advocate as a provider?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Suess. It’s this simple truth that keeps me fighting for ECE! I am a product of other people caring a whole, awful lot! I come from a broken home, where my parent was an addict, and as a teenager, that parent died tragically in a house fire. My church and people who cared what happened to me took me in and adopted me into their family, and the trajectory of my life changed…for the better, all because someone cared! Each day we as providers have an opportunity to change others lives, not just the children, but the entire family, just by caring about them! And advocating certainly shows we care!
Why should Missouri invest more in child care and early education?
I like to always give the example that, if we teach children (2-6 years) how to appropriately use their words to say how they feel and communicate with others, then we have children that grow up to work things out with their words, instead of with guns. And this is what child development teaches us, if we can teach children when their brains are most absorbant, then they grow up and we have a better world, because we can change their outcome by giving them the skills that they use for the rest of their lives! When we invest in the youngest child, we invest in a better tomorrow! We could solve so many of our problems if we just invest in ECE! When we invest in our children, we impact them forever.
In one sentence, what does the ideal child care and early education system look like for Missouri kids and families?
What is one advocacy tip you can share with other providers or ECE advocates?
Just be yourself and share your story. People may not remember your name, but they will remember how your story made them feel.