Public health majors Lila Bradley ’20 of Epsom, N.H. and Molly Pfenning ’20 of Rutland, Vt., took part in the Save the Children Advocacy Summit this March in Washington D.C., where they worked with Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) and met with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan.
SCAN’s mission includes advocating for the 16 million American children who live in poverty, with the goal of achieving qualitative early education and full-day kindergarten programs for all children between the ages of three and five. SCAN’s mission extends beyond the United States and touches on issues such as putting an end to maternal deaths.
“I felt like I was doing something really important,” Bradley said of her three days in the nation’s capital. “We went to Capitol Hill to talk to New Hampshire State Senators and their staff about child and maternal health and early childhood education. The staff … were just as interested in helping as we were. To have that conversation about such important topics … was so inspiring. It made me realize that we are all policy changers.”
Bradley’s words ring true to events taking place in New Hampshire, where voters in Merrimack County decided in February to implement full-day kindergarten programs for all children.
“The most valuable lesson I took away from the summit is to never stop speaking up and advocating … if we don’t invest in children, we are not investing in our future,” said Pfenning. “The work SCAN is doing is helping make people realize how important it is to invest in our kids.”
Professor of Nursing and Health Professions and Director of the public health program, Shari Goldberg, noted that Bradley and Pfenning were awarded scholarships to attend the summit and represented the public health program and the college exceptionally well and to great effect. “Molly and Lila have returned to campus energized and enthusiastic about continuing their work advocating for children,” she said. “They are even in the process of formalizing a student organization.”