Deaconess Leads St. Louis Child Advocacy Delegation


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Alex Stallings at, 314-226-4287


Deaconess lead St. Louis Child Advocacy delegation

150 Church Leaders and Child Advocates traveled to Jefferson City


April 16, 2015 — On Wednesday, April 1st Deaconess Foundation took two charter buses of United Church of Christ members, youth service providers and families to Jefferson City for the 33rd Annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day, a day-long action. The coordination with partners resulted in 150 citizens from across the St. Louis region participating in the event with a total attendance of approximately 400 people. The groups participated in advocacy workshops, a march and rally, fellowship and meetings with key legislators on child well-being issues. 

“We will always get better public policy when we listen to the voices of people most affected, said Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation. “We were pleased to join our congregational and community partners for this annual pilgrimage to ask our elected officials to invest in the well-being and equitable outcomes for St. Louis’ most vulnerable children.” Key leaders from United Church of Christ congregations and human service agencies joined Deaconess for the journey include Michael Brennan, CEO of Every Child’s Hope, Darlene Sowell, CEO of Neighborhood Houses, Rev. Norma Patterson, pastor of Good Shepherd of Faith UCC, Rev. David Gerth, executive director of Metropolitan Congregations United, and Rev. Donna Philips of the St. Louis Association Council of the United Church of Christ.  

“Child Advocacy Day is one of the most important days in Jefferson City. Hearing the voices of Missouri's children is critical for our state legislature,” said Judy Dungan, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Missouri Children's Leadership Council. “Investing in things like high-quality education, health, and education is a winning strategy that will significantly address the needs of Missouri’s children, particularly those most at risk,” said Dungan.

The day began at 9:00 am with a welcome, featured advocacy workshops, a march to the capitol along with a rally for children.  Policy makers who met the riders included: State Representative Michael Butler, State Representative Reverend Tommie Pierson, Sr and others.  Community partners and participants included:  Maternal, Child and Family Health Coalition, Metropolitan Congregations United, Beyond Housing, Every Child’s Hope, Youth Learning Center, The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, Family Resource Center, Assisting Children of Prison Parents, Walgreens Youth Expressions, Ferguson Alternative Spring Break, Christ the King United Church of Christ, Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community) and First Baptist Church - Jefferson City.

Deaconess advocated on behalf of children with regard to a range of issues, including financial aid for undocumented students, eligibility for childcare assistance, tuition caps, anti-bullying legislation and more. The advocacy agenda aligned with its funded projects and the multi-issue agenda of the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council.  More information online:  @mochildadvocacy Hashtag:  #MOCAD2015                                     

Deaconess Foundation invests in endeavors that improve the well-being of children, engages our region around the plight of youth, and advocates for change. Deaconess, established in 1889, is celebrating 125 years of service to the St. Louis area and continues its mission — pursuing health and hope for all St. Louis children. A ministry of the United Church of Christ, Deaconess has invested more than $74 million to improve the health of the St. Louis community since 1998 and believes healthy, hope-filled futures for children benefit the entire region.  For more information about Deaconess, visit Connect with Deaconess on Twitter @DeaconessFound, Facebook and follow #DFChildren.