Guest blog by Kerri Michael Sernel, development director for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is turning 40!
AACF was founded in 1977 by ten Arkansans who were deeply concerned about the status of children in our state. They believed that Arkansas’s children needed an “independent force to provide information and education to parents and citizens about our state’s policies toward children and families.” Our founders included Betty Bumpers, the late Dr. Bettye Caldwell, the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mary Sue Jacobs, Pat Lile, the late Dr. Betty Lowe, Jim Miles, Dorothy Nayles, Judge Olly Neal and the late Sharon Pallone. And four decades later, their vision and legacy live on.
Today, our mission is to “ensure that all children have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and realize their full potential.” We work with policymakers, community partners and concerned citizens to promote good public policy that makes kids’ lives better. AACF was instrumental in a number of landmark policy initiatives that have done just that, including the creation of the ARKids First program, the expansion of quality Pre-K for at-risk 3 and 4-year olds, overhauls of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, ensuring that Marshallese and immigrant children have access to health care and working to advance more fair tax policies for low-income families. And we’re working hard every day to make sure kids remain a top priority at the Capitol and in Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, October 12 at the Statehouse Convention Center, we will celebrate the advances made over the last 40 years – and ten very special Arkansans who used their voices and resources to make things better, not for only a few of our state’s kids, but for all of them. You can purchase tickets here. We’ll have a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and program from 7:00 – 9:00. We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate this very special anniversary!