As 2016 comes to an end
We reach out to you, our members, our friends.
With deep gratitude for all that you do.
You're Children's Champions, through and through.
With our voices raised, and as a team,
We came together for #earlyedin16!
For Congress, our partners and the Administration.
We have roadmaps for states to Build It Better;
Policy Forums to bring us together;
We fight for equity (it's an obsession)
And launched, in partnership, Power to the Profession.
There may be challenges in the path ahead
And opportunities, too, as we defend
Our children's future, our ethical code.
Let's walk together along this road.
So one last story, as we turn towards the new,
A champion's story of what we must do:
His program was challenged, and needed a stand.
But he wasn't ready; it wasn't his plan.
"An advocate?" he cried. "But I'm here to teach.
It's children and families that I want to reach.
Politics and such don't matter to me." (Sigh).
"I didn't want to be an advocate," he said. "But I had to be."*
And he's right.
Advocacy is how this system gets fixed.
Coming together, to meld and mix.
Our voices diverse, yet unified.
Standing together, side by side.
We do not know what our future holds.
We do know we must be brave and bold.
Buoyed by our values (and Strategic Direction)
We'll continue to stand as Children's Champions.
Let's sharpen our skills; let's reach out our hands
Let's build more advocates; let's take a stand.
Thank you for being part of our team.
We'll see you all in 2017!
*With thanks to Chad Dunkley, CEO of New Horizons Academy and a member of NAEYC's Governing Board. We took some poetic license with the story - but the final line of the stanza is his, and real.