On Wednesday I had the honor of being surrounded by 30 parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, as we stood up for the children we love in our lives. In response to the thousands of Colorado children who planned to walk out of school to support stronger gun control, I created Parents Step Up to seize the opportunity to get more parents and adults involved. In Colorado and across the country, we’ve seen our share of student marches and protest. Over and over, what I’ve seen with school walkouts is a lack of parent involvement, which to me, is a missed opportunity to support our kids.
Throughout my many years of advocating for my own four children, including my involvement as president of the Parent Teacher Organization, I have learned there are a lot of parents who want to step up, help, and do better for their children. But, they often don’t know how or where to start. I also know that people hesitate to be the leader and put themselves out there for all to judge and scrutinize. I also fully understand the many reasons why.
Am I scared? Yes! Am I way beyond my comfort zone? Yes! But, as I have always told my children, ”you can not let fear stop you.” So, with my family’s complete support, I decided I am stepping up.
While setting up the Parents Step Up Facebook page, I realized that what this community and country really need is more than a one-time walkout or protest. We have to do more than just stand up and show support. What is really needed is a space to help empower parents to be more involved and a better advocate for their children all year long. My time with the 30 parents stepping up for kids this week set the stage for a “parent movement” with a unique mission. That mission is to unite parents and caregivers for the purpose of advocating for our children and to facilitate more parent involvement and access to resources.
To complete our mission we plan to:
- Provide resources to support the advocacy of all children.
- Provide information on events where parent can get involved.
- Provide access to resources needed to help our children.
I want to help empower parents to know where they can go within their school communities if their kid needs help with everything ranging from math homework and mental health support to help providing information on how parents can be more involved in and outside of school — including teaching kids how to be proactive in influencing societal changes and advocating for themselves and others.
I’m especially proud of my children and husband, who have been involved every step of the way, and grateful to all who showed up to support our community’s children. I am thankful for the lessons my family and I have learned and will continue to learn in the weeks and months ahead, and I am hopeful that we will be able to help parents support their kids as students and contributing members of our community. I am excited to share this experience with others and hoping it helps inspire more people.
Will you join us as we step up and make the changes needed for our kids? We can’t do it alone!
Kim Crossland is a mother of four children ranging from kindergarten through ninth grade. Her kids attend public schools in the St. Vrain Valley school district. She is an advocate for parent involvement and engagement in Colorado schools.