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Monday, October 31, 2011

China's report back on Fair Childcare Now! children's programming

Well it's over - and I really want to say something about how it all went. It went great! So many people worked together for this! There were new-ish volunteers from past actions that now were part of the organizing team, and that was so cool. There were really wonderful youth (about 7 or so - mostly around 12 and three 3 year olds). There were neat people who dropped in and played. There were lots of volunteers* and games and discussions. There was rides and packing up and packing down and little bags of carrots and tomatoes. and juice boxes. and hide the juice boxes, lets just stick with water. And strawberries!

There was duck duck goose, thumbs up, musical chairs, fast games, slow games. There was rain and snow. There was the buddy system. There was all these intricacies of interactions that I would love to be able to write about, I would write and write and It would take days and someone would need to edit it and cut out about at least one third to half of my words; and run spell check. But that wouldn't happen, probably.

You see I always want to write reflections from when the event is over - but I usually never do. So much preparation goes into making an event happen, and when it's over you often feel happy, satisfied, relieved, tired, and ready for the next things you need to do. So you don't write your reportback. Cuz it all feels so BIG. where to start? What to say?

So I just wanted to start a new pattern. A new personal goal. That every time an event is done I will post just a little something about it. Even if its not perfect. (Thats a lesson for me lately too, to do things, although they are un-perfect)

As the bottom liner on this, I wish I started organizing (a month or two) earlier, and this is a rule I KNOW, but all I can say, is remember that for next time. I know this stuff really well, but I still wound up doing a lot of stuff the day before (as well as the week before) and waking up to finish packing and not getting enough sleep so I was sleepy and out of it at the end of the day. But it was ok because we had everything planned and responsibility divided and I just walked away and didn't worry about it. (my shift was past done, and they have my cell phone, I'm just in the next building)

I drank coffee and ate a brownie. And held babies. Which is great, more for me, I think. Holding babies is good for you.

I remember when I was taking a break, hearing this facilitator (on a workshop on facilitation, or group dynamics, or something) talking about that these skills - we need to learn them. We need to learn how to work in groups, there are some good tools with that. And if we learned this stuff when we were young, how useful that would be. And I thought: thats like Kidz City!

I think we are all learning how to work together, sharing different aproaches with each other. Making that space for that to happen in. And the best way to learn these skills, is just like how we were all playing those games together --- is hands on. Its much better hands on then anything I can write here. I love having an actual space to build together, our kidz city, for a day or two. Childcare and children are part of the United Workers, its not like childcare isn't something that should be an integrated part of the whole - just its great to build a space, with intentions and priorities, for youth like Kidz City too. I really see us all learning stuff, together, every time we get together. Trying to build a new model, trying this experiment and work in progress called radical childcare. I like it!

But also part of that, is the reflection afterwords. To discuss and learn for next time. So I am going to put writing report backs on my final list of things to do when planning an action, just like thanking the volunteers and organizers and asking for anyone's feedback - good or places where we have room for improvement to learn for next time- and maybe one day it will feel normal and not stretching too much to do that, just like how it now is for us to plan for food.

So, it went good!
A lot of folks helped!
Thank you,

*three volunteers on each (two hour) shift, plus one kidz city organizer doing three hour bottom lining shifts, plus some folks doing more than one shift = 13 total volunteers. There was a good amount of volunteers - I think thats really important. Keep a high ratio. You never know how many kids will show up (we had a 5-15 estimate). Organizations stress pre-registration, and it would help us prepare a lot, but many participants do not register ahead.

What is Fair Childcare?

Fair childcare is respect and care for every child and every caregiver
Fair childcare respects mothers and doesn't separate them from their children through forces such as economics and borders
Fair childcare is divided across all sectors in a more equitable fashion
Fair childcare means all children to have the physical and emotional requirements they need to grow and blossom
Fair childcare supports caregivers and children's leadership & dignity
Fair childcare is respect for individual differences and culture
Fair childcare value's the work of growing bodies, hearts and spirits
Fair childcare is concrete support for all families
Fair childcare is community solidarity
Fair childcare centers those on the margins in this unjust system
Fair childcare is beauty and self expression, even when that self expression isn't so beautiful
Fair childcare is affordable, free, sliding scale, collective
Fair childcare is wonderful and necessary
Fair childcare is healthy
Fair childcare is equal
Fair childcare is putting your resources where your mouth is!

What does "Fair Childcare" mean to you?

original flyer and spanish translation here:

This project was inspired by the "What is Fair Development ?" photo booth project (check out the photo set - lots of youth and kidz city volunteers mixed in!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fair Childcare Now! - Children's Programing at the Fair Development Conference Oct. 29

Hello! Kidz City is preparing for the children's programming for the Fair Development Conference (in Baltimore) at the end of the month. WE NEED LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS! Volunteer for a two-hour shift! Let me know if you are interested and mark the date

Time: Saturday Oct 29, from 9 am to 5
Place: 2640 Saint Paul
Estimated: 5-15 kids. But they don't really know.

I am also interested in assembling a planning/organizing team!

Second organizing meeting this tuesday, oct.11 at 6:30 in Hampden. Let me know if you would like to come. We will also have a volunteer orientation the week before the event.

yours for the long term intergenerational building,
china/kidz city


* Make Halloween Costumes with/for Kids! They can use them to march around the next day for the Sunday action (There is going to be a giant pumpkin prop involved in the United workers demo), to feel part of the larger action, and also trick or treat in. I am thinking it would be neat to set up a sewing and costume station and get a lot of creativity going on around this.

Create a "Fair Development" GAME for children! Build Something meeting the criteria of using public resources fairly, with respect for all, and is sustainable. Or perhaps experience the game in two ways, with one boss; and then in a collaborative way. various ideas - but creating a game is a really cool idea!

Create a village, there own town. Building a community. Verbally or with waterpaints. Older kids building with younger kids.


Workshops for Youth.

Assemble Packages of crayons, paper, and toys to put in each workshop so that children that go to workshops with caretakers have stuff there to be occupied with.

Work on ways to develop youth leadership, incorporate youth decision making.

Represent "Fair Development" in Kidz Terms: youth to experience collective decision making.

Work on a Fair Childcare Bill of Rights! What is fair childcare? Perhaps work with kids on a Children's Bill of Rights.

Photo Booth Project: If we make signs we could be part of the larger photo booth project which will ask a question like: "what is fair development?"

Develop some kind of idea for presentation that could come from the youth to the greater assembly before supper

Have ideas? Get in touch ASAP. Especially with workshop ideas and folks that could give workshops to youth. We need to put that program together.

More about the Fair Development Conference:

The 2011 Fair Development Conference is a going to be an incredible convergence of some of the most dynamic and effective organizers and scholars locally, nationally and even globally.

Check out the amazing program of workshops, events, and actions here!

People are traveling far and wide to share stories and strategies for building the power needed to develop our communities and economies in ways that respect the inherent worth of all people. From the Dominican Republic, Vermont, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, organizers, artists, faith leaders, and students will be making their way to Baltimore to participate in the Fair Development Conference. We hope that you will make your way too.

So don’t miss out, register online today!

Be on the lookout for additional updates on Fair Development Conference events, actions, and news.

Here’s a list of just some of the participation groups
Amnesty International
Baltimore Algebra Project
Baltimore Bicycle Works
Centro de los Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha
Civilian Soldier Alliance (CivSol)
Coalition for Economic Justice
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Community Law Center
Democracy Collaborative
Fight for a Fair Economy
Generations for Peace and Democracy
Good Jobs Better Baltimore
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Justicia Global
Keeper of the Mountains Foundation
Media Mobilizing Project
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization
Milk Not Jails
Northeast Pennsylvania Organizing Center
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
Philadelphia Student Union
Picture the Homeless
Poverty Initiative
Puppet Underground
Spectres of Liberty
United Workers
Urban Justice Center
Vermont Workers Center
War Resisters League
And More!