Summit County: New forums aim to inform, mobilize public on kids’ issues

Kathryn Turnersummit daily news

A new series of forums, which kick off this week, are meant to inform the local public about the health, education and well-being of Summit County’s children. The forums are being held by the local branch of It’s About Kids, a small group of volunteers pursuing the education and mobilization of Summit locals around children’s issues. The group is a grassroots piece of the Colorado Children’s Campaign – a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and advocacy organization focused on improving the quality of and expanding access to child health, K-12 education and early childhood experiences. It’s About Kids is currently in 18 communities across the state; locally, it is comprised of Summit School District Boardmember Sue Wilcox, local health advocate Don Parsons and Lucinda Burns of Early Childhood Options.The first forum, slated for Thursday night, will cover children’s health care: access to it, childhood obesity – “which is a growing problem not only nationally and in Colorado, but in Summit County,” Parsons said – and recent data that came out of the Children’s Campaign 2012 Kids Count in Colorado! report, a compilation of state and county data on various child well-being indicators like food and health insurance access, education and family status.”Our hope is to get people to gather at tables in smaller groups and brainstorm ideas about what kind of action we might be able to take in Summit County around these two major areas,” Parsons said. Locals are urged to come armed with their experiences, and good ideas to address problems.The event’s speakers will include Tamara Drangstveit of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, Amy Wineland of Summit County Public Health, naturopath and nutritionist Jannine Walldan and a representative from the children’s campaign.The next three forums will be spread over the rest of the year, although they don’t have official dates yet. They will cover K-12 education, early childhood and the legislative landscape on children’s issues.

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