Babycenter (huge subscription base of parents) seems to get it!April 22, 2009
Meeting at Sen. Sherrod Brown’s officeApril 24, 2009
The Indianola Children’s Center graciously hosted the meeting in a lovely space near OSU campus.
Indianola Children’s Center
Tina Gratitude, a staff member at the center, explained that they are in the process of removing a traditional playground and replacing it with a natural playspace for the children. The center focuses on peacemaking and conflict resolution with the children.
The center is a site for Columbus’ Earth Day volunteer efforts, which took place April 19-20.
Federal legislation update
Mark Young, a member of the collaborative who lobbies on behalf of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association and the National Recreation and Parks Association, gave an update after his recent trip to Washington D.C. to lobby for passage of the No Child Left Inside bill.
Status: Although the bill was passed by the House in the fall, it was not passed in the Senate. A new Congress has now been elected, so the process must begin again. The bill is currently a standalone bill that will later be folded into the general legislation regarding education in this country, also known as the No Child Left Behind reauthorization bill.
Local action: Mark has met with staff members of Ohio representatives to the House and Senate. He is continuing to set up local meetings in their district offices. The Leave No Child Inside Collaborative will be involved in these meetings.
General info: The way the bill is currently written, parks and nonprofits will be able to apply for grants through this bill, so long as they partner with a school. Schools can also apply directly. Dept. of Education will administer this. There are no unfunded mandates. However the proposed pool of funds for the grants is modest. (Maybe only $15-$20 million for the nation.)
Comments: John O’Meara mentioned that Metro Parks has documented significant improvements in Columbus Public School students who participate in Metro Parks programs through their schools. The members present also commented and asked questions.
Metro Parks Levy
John O’Meara, executive director of Metro Parks and member of the Collaborative, spoke on behalf of the Metro Parks levy, which will be on the ballot in May. In many parts of Franklin County, this will be the only issue on the ballot, and voter turnout is expected to be low. Also, senior citizens, who tend to turn out in highest numbers, also tend to vote against any sort of tax. The levy means the average homeowner would pay $36 per year in tax for the Metro Parks. $23 of that is a replacement of what they are already paying now. Only $13 is new money. That’s just about $1 a month! The new funds will help build more pedestrian trails and a nature center, and fund new parks.
It’s very important to get out and vote that day, since there won’t be a lot of hype about the actual voting day. Your vote will make a big difference!
Report from Steering Committee on Statewide Meeting and on Direction/Strategy
Alice Hohl briefly summarized last month’s statewide LNCI meeting. Essentially, it was agreed that the most important thing Leave No Child Inside movements around the state can be doing is:
So that is what we are aiming to focus on. We will leave the programming to our members, and serve as a way to coordinate and communicate (to promote others’ work and avoid duplication where possible), network, make connections, and spread the message to an ever growing circle! Complete notes from the meeting are available here.