April 2022
In this issue:

  • Board Member Spotlight
  • Spring Early Childhood Developmental Screening
  • Images from the Expression Not Possession Art Exhibition
  • Celebrating Young Black Excellence
  • Announcements
This First Friday newsletter connects you with virtual resources and information to help you better serve families by connecting with one another in our shared mission to build a community where all children thrive.
WCL Welcomes New Board Members
Lauren Lange
Special Projects Coordinator
Florida Governor's Office of Policy and Budget
A Bit About Lauren
Lauren Lange has spent her career as a public servant in both state and federal government. Currently, she serves as the Special Project Coordinator in the Governor's Office of Policy and Budget. Previously, she worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Florida Senate, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida House of Representatives, and the Florida Coalition for Children. Lauren is a proud double Nole, receiving both her Master’s in Public Administration (2019) and Bachelor’s in Political Science and Sociology (2017) from Florida State University. Lauren is grateful for the opportunity to give back to her community by serving on the FSU Jewish Alumni Network's Board of Directors and Whole Child Leon's Board of Directors. 

Why did Lauren join the Whole Child Leon Board?
I joined the Whole Child Leon board because I wanted to find a way to give back and become more connected with my community. Throughout my career, I have been lucky to have the opportunity to learn about and advocate for what I am passionate about, child welfare policy. I connected with Whole Child Leon's mission to unite communities around the goal of providing for children. The collaboration between all stakeholders and the people that are working on the ground is vital to prioritizing early childhood care. I am looking forward to doing what I can to advance WCL's mission and ensure all children get to thrive and lead happy and healthy lives. 
Ivey Rooney Yarger
Political Capital Florida
A Bit About Ivey
Ivey Rooney Yarger is a 4th generation Tallahassee resident & Florida native. She is a “double Seminole” with an undergraduate degree in Political Science & International Affairs and a master’s degree in Applied American Politics & Policy. She began fundraising in 2015 and feels fortunate to work with state political parties, governors, state representatives, state senators, congressional members, and non-profit organizations.

Why did Ivey join the Whole Child Leon Board?
Growing up in this community, I’ve seen the changes it has undergone and the challenges that it faces. Frequently, I have felt a desire to get engaged in some way, shape, or form. After participating in a Whole Child Leon raffle, I was inspired to take a deep dive into the organization and the incredible efforts it makes in our community. The tangible work being done to serve the Big Bend’s young children and families resonated with me as someone who looks forward to raising a family in our community.
Join us at the April Professional Network
At April's Professional Network Community Conversation, Whole Child Leon will be sharing information on Adverse Childhood Experiences, resiliency and the importance of parent education on the impacts of toxic stress.

Join us Monday, April 25, 2022 from 12 Noon - 1:15 PM.
In Case You Missed It!
Last month's Community Conversation featured speakers representing Sister Friends Tallahassee Birthing Project, Tallahassee-Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park.

Click the link below to view the recording.
Registration Now Open for the 2022 Spring Early Childhood Developmental Screening
Save the Date! On Friday, April 22, Whole Child Leon and partners will be holding the Fall Early Childhood Developmental Screening at Wesson School (2813 S Meridian St). The Screening will provide an opportunity for children six months to 5 years old to be screened for potential physical and mental concerns. Families will then be provided with potential resources to serve the identified concerns.
Whole Child Leon Host Award Ceremony and Art Exhibit
On March 8, Whole Child Leon, a member of the Open Doors Outreach Network covering the Big Bend, hosted a reception and exhibition honoring student artists who submitted works to the Expression Not Possession: to End Child Trafficking Youth Art Contest. Leon County students submitted over 30 works for consideration; a selection of which remain on display at Tallahassee City Hall. 

The contest and educational campaign were a community collaboration between Whole Child Leon, Leon County Schools, and StarMetro, a department of the City of Tallahassee. With submissions opening during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, this initiative highlights the importance of self-expression while encouraging students to use their artistic abilities to join the fight to end child trafficking. 

The art will soon be moved to the Whole Child Leon Office in Midtown for viewing. See the images from this event below.
Tallahassee City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox, Voices for Florida Open Doors Statewide Director Robyn Metcalf Blank, and Whole Child Leon Executive Director Courtney Atkins surround the winning High School submission.
Charlie Jackson, Regional Advocate, addresses partners, students, families and teachers in attendance alongside Open Doors team members Sarah Farmer, Clinician, and Robin Silberman, Survivor Mentor.
As a first-place winner, Rylee Reatherford, 12th grade, will have her work displayed in the StarMetro buses to raise awareness of child trafficking.
Melody Michelle King, 7th grade, stands beside her artwork, which has been awarded first place.
Student art lines Tallahassee City Hall’s rotunda.
Reception attendees converse and view student art.
Children's Services Council Leon County Hosts Community Conversations
CSC Leon is hosting Community Conversations which will allow the general public to meet with the council members to discuss their perspective. Registration is available at the link below. The dates and locations are as follows:
  • Monday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m., Walker-Ford Community Center
  • Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30 p.m., Chiles High School
Celebrating Young Black Excellence
Sourced from Child Trends

Racial disparities in many indicators of child well-being (e.g., school suspension, suicide, exposure to violence, juvenile arrests) illustrate the need to improve Black children’s and adolescents’ experiences and outcomes across multiple domains, including education, health, child welfare, and criminal justice. However, to promote a deeper and more varied understanding of Black children and adolescents, this brief highlights their progress and accomplishments in addition to their continued needs. Our intention is not to minimize the serious consequences of racial injustice but rather to recognize young Black people’s achievements and resilience as we work to create the society that they, and all children and youth, deserve.

A large and diverse group, Black children and adolescents in the United States have:

  • Substantially improved their levels of high school completion and college enrollment
  • Achieved academic excellence beyond the classroom
  • Increasingly postponed parenthood and reduced their likelihood of engaging in risky health behaviors
  • Demonstrated strong civic engagement and led social change
  • Broken new ground in athletics and the arts
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurship and launched new business endeavors
  • This brief describes these trends in detail.
Leon County Youth Enjoy 4-H Nature Paddle as a Spring Break Alternative!
This article was shared with Whole Child Leon by UF/IFAS Extension Leon County 4-H.

This year seven youth in Leon County decided to do something fun for Spring Break that may provide a lifelong appreciation for the great outdoors. What activity could have such an impact, take place outdoors, and stimulate each one of their 5 senses? I’m glad you asked… These young adventurists participated in the Leon County 4-H Nature Paddle event by making new friends and kayaking down the Wacissa River in Jefferson County. This river is a large, pristine, spring-fed stream located in south-central Jefferson County and is home to a multitude of wildlife including birds, fish, amphibians, insects, and even alligators!

Dorie Spangler, an ACA certified kayak instructor, and the Leon County 4-H Program Assistant, served as our lead instructor and held a brief water safety orientation prior to our anxious paddlers taking to the water. When one of the youth asked…. “Are there alligators in the water?”. County Extension Director, Marcus Boston who also accompanied the group replied. “Yes…there are alligators in the water…..this is their habitat and we should expect to see them here…just like an alligator that crawled in our house would expect to see us there!” 
The youth had a great time paddling on the water and observing all the wildlife that call the Wacissa River their home. After the paddling trip ended, everyone shared their wildlife observations over lunch on the picnic table. For more great 4-H summer camp outdoor experiences please contact Leon County 4-H today by giving us a call at 850 606-5204 or by emailing Allison Leon aleo@ufl.edu.
The information shared in this section is included to provide a general political update on issues impacting our community. The views shared in the articles featured in this section are in no way a reflection of the views of Whole Child Leon.
2022 Florida Legislative Session Comes to a Close
The 2022 Florida Legislative Sessions came to a close mid-March after the passing of a $112 billion state budget. This session was mired with controversy, but there have been substantial achievements for early childhood funding. The Children's Movement of Florida hosted a webinar with Michele Watson of Florida Alliance of Children's Councils & Trusts (FACCT). See the highlights below.

  • HB 1199 School Readiness Funding Formula - looking at the cost of care - rolled into SB 2524 Education Conforming Bill, Early Learning Estimating Conference to meet annually to evaluate cost of care.
  • Florida state budget passed, which contains an additional $150-$160 million to impact early learning provision.
  • Funding for micro-credentials, Gold Seal designated early learning centers, special needs differentials and more
Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders
by Angelou Ezeilo and Nick Chiles
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings
By Britney Winn Lee
Illustrations by Jacob Souva
Happy Birthday, Courtney!
Today is Whole Child Leon Executive Director Courtney Atkins birthday! Courtney has celebrated 12 birthdays since becoming the Executive Director of Whole Child Leon and hopes to celebrate many more with the organization.
Breastfeeding Policy Workgroup Releases Survey
Help Whole Child Leon and the Breastfeeding Policy Workgroup support local businesses and organizations in incorporating breastfeeding best practices! Share your experience by completing and distributing this survey. Each response will assist us in promoting family friendly businesses.
Save the Date for the 2022 Champions for Change Tennis and Golf Tournament Weekend: May 13 - May 15
Whole Child Leon, Voices for Florida and Killearn Country Club are partnering to bring awareness to the sex trafficking of children and youth in the Big Bend region through a weekend of golfing, tennis and more! Registration is now open!

For more information, contact Tiffany McGlinchey at 850-425-2621.
Job Board
Open positions in the Community:
United Way of Northwest Florida
Click here of more info.
Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence
Revenue Research Center Coordinator
Click here for more info.
Pace Center for Girls
Multiple Positions Available
Click here for more info.
“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”

— William Shakespeare
We convene several workgroups, policy committees and action teams. If you want to get involved with one, contact us.
  • Early Childhood Education & Empowerment Committee
  • Breastfeeding Policy Workgroup
  • Community Screening Team
  • Children's Week TLH Planning Committee
Building a Community Where Everyone Works
Together to Make Sure All Children Thrive
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