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Students Rally for Health Coverage and Honor Local Health Champion During CDF Freedom Schools® National Day of Social Action
Houston, TX—On the morning of Tuesday, July 27, hundreds of southeast Texas young people held a “Stand Up! Get Covered! rally for children’s healthcare coverage at the 5th Ward Multi-Service Center in Houston. The children – participants in the CDF Freedom Schools program which focuses on literacy, cultural enrichment and social action – joined others across the country for a National Day of Social Action to urge all children everywhere to speak with their parents about the importance and benefits of health coverage.
“With the passage of the federal reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 2009 and National Health Reform in 2010, many people mistakenly believe that the job of insuring our children is now done. The job is far from done, as Texas still lags behind the nation in the number of uninsured children. It is up to those of us in the know to help inform families about how to access the coverage now available to their children,” said CDF-Texas Interim Director Laura Guerra-Cardus.
Throughout the summer, youth from across the country participate in CDF Freedom Schools reading and cultural enrichment programs and learn how to engage in community service and social justice advocacy to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. On Tuesday, the students spoke about the importance of health coverage and performed skits underscoring how difficult life can be for the uninsured. The children also proudly held up their insurance cards, a reflection of the fact that, through education and outreach, more than 90% of children attending a CDF Freedom Schools site in Texas are enrolled in health coverage.
"The well-being of our children is the most important investment we can make. By ensuring all children have access to health coverage and encouraging them to utilize that access, we safeguard our own future. It is exciting to watch the children turn lessons about advocacy into action, speaking out for themselves and others like them who typically are left out of the political process precisely because they do not vote," said CDF-Texas Youth Leadership Development Director and Houston CDF Freedom Schools founder Brandi Brown.
CDF—Texas Freedom Schools also paid tribute to local health champion Tamika Scott, who, since the loss of her son Devante in 2007 (who was unable to get the lifesaving care he needed because of bureaucratic red tape and mismanaged paperwork surrounding his insurance coverage), has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of all Texas children who lack health coverage. Devante’s story was widely publicized in the press and was largely responsible for the passage of HB 109 during the 2007 Texas legislative session. Recently, Ms. Scott and her family lost their home in a fire, and in a remarkable demonstration of support, CDF Freedom Schools students—who themselves are low-to-moderate-income—banded together to collect donations of cash, clothing, food, and other household items.
To view pictures of the event, click here.
About the CDF Freedom Schools® Program
The CDF Freedom Schools program provides summer and after-school literacy and cultural enrichment for children ages five to 18. The program focuses heavily on reading, self-esteem, youth leadership, conflict resolution, and fostering a love of learning and a commitment to community service. CDF Freedom Schools sites also offer weekly parent workshops and volunteer opportunities and ensure that every child in the program has access to health and mental health resources, nutritious meals and a safe environment. In Texas, there are CDF Freedom Schools programs operating in Houston, Beaumont and Galveston with expected expansion to additional sites statewide. For more information, contact 713-664-4080.
About the Children’s Defense Fund
The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for more than 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates nationwide on behalf of children to ensure children are always a priority.
The CDF Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.