Welfare of Children Must Be 2014 Priority

Your Take: Five ways every American can get involved in improving the outcome for a child.

A child in a working-class section of Utica, N.Y. Spencer Platt

1. As responsible citizens, we must give our time, money and talents to local and national organizations that advocate for and support children in need, such as Save the Children, United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Youth on their Own, food banks and others. 

2. We must demand positive action from elected officials, law enforcement and other public servants who have taken oaths to protect and serve all citizens, regardless of income levels, or vote them out of office. Ask them to devote funding to programs that support needy children and to overhaul Child Protective Services to better protect children from abusive home environments.

3. We must each reach out individually to identify children and families in need in our communities and neighborhoods and lend a helping hand by volunteering with organizations that serve low-income children and teens, like Youth on Their Own, or adopt a family in need. 

4. Religious leaders from all faiths must unite and lead the charge to save our children. This involves promoting awareness and mobilizing congregations to join the fight, committing needed resources, tithing to fight hunger and demanding legislative action to address the poverty and crime debilitating our nation’s children. 

5. The media must intensify its coverage and better inform the public about the crisis facing America’s children, raising public awareness about opportunities to make a difference in a child’s life. Let’s have fewer stories about Kim and Kanye and more stories about how to help our children.

The time is now, as the New Year begins, to make 2014 the remarkable year during which “We, the people of the United States of America,” create positive change for our nation’s children.

Daisy Jenkins, JD, is president of Daisy Jenkins & Associates, specializing in human resources consulting and executive and developmental coaching. She currently serves on the board of directors for Tucson Regional Economics Opportunity Inc. (TREO). She is a Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project.