Three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, much remains at stake for children. Addressing global learning loss, inequitable access to mental health services and disruptions of routine vaccinations all continue to be top priorities for UNICEF. August Recess, a time when senators and representatives return to their home states and districts, is the ideal opportunity for UNICEF USA supporters to meet with their legislators and advocate for these priorities on behalf of every child.
In a time of partisan politics, UNICEF USA’s grassroots advocacy is essential for garnering support of bipartisan legislation to meet the needs of children in the U.S. and abroad. Thanks to our Advocacy Lead volunteers, UNICEF USA scheduled 46 virtual Congressional meetings in 22 states engaging the offices of nine U.S. Senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives. Volunteers across the country, youth and adults alike, mobilized to request support for FY23 annual appropriations of $175 million as well as key legislative priorities including the Mental Health in International Development and Humanitarian Settings (MINDS) Act (H.R.3988/S.2105).
In an effort to make meetings more accessible, UNICEF USA once again hosted Congressional meetings virtually. UNICEF Ambassador Jeremy Lin joined a meeting with Northern California volunteers while traveling to lend his voice and advocate for mental health services for children. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) co-sponsored the MINDS Act soon after participating in the meeting by phone, thanking Mr. Lin and UNICEF Club members for their advocacy for children’s rights.
UNICEF USA staff member Alexandra Grossi worked with Southern California volunteers to schedule a meeting with Rep. Young Kim (R-CA), a freshman member of Congress on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Her seat on that Committee makes her especially important in advancing UNICEF USA’s policy priorities. Together, the volunteers discussed why funding UNICEF is a good investment to ensure the rights of children are protected, including a right to mental health services — services that are more necessary than ever given the impacts of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The success of August Recess 2022 would not have been possible without the dedication and passion of UNICEF advocates on the ground across the United States. To join them in advocating on behalf of the world’s children, sign up for UNICEF USA’s grassroots volunteer program, UNICEF UNITE.
To raise your voice digitally, check out UNICEF USA's Advocacy Action Center, where you can write or tweet your members of Congress in support of UNICEF USA’s legislative priorities with one click.
Top photo: UNICEF USA advocates meet with staff from the office of Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA). © UNICEF USA