Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12: At Last, A Party To Join

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Want to go to a Milk Party? If so, you'll support Florida's children.

The Children's Movement of Florida launched this week with a series of milk-and-cookies parties. The tasty kickoff is meant to call attention to the serious needs of improved health care, education and social services for Florida's youngest residents.

The main "milkman" is David Lawrence, Jr., who has made children a priority since he retired as the publisher of The Miami Herald. Lawrence's work helped lead to the creation of The Children's Trust in Miami-Dade County, and the state ballot amendment funding pre-kindergarten programs.

The organization has a website,, with some sobering statistics that prove the kids are not all right in the Sunshine State.

Florida ranks dead last in the country in the number of uninsured children in a report by The Commonwealth Fund. The state's Pre-K and mentoring programs don't get enough funding. Florida has almost 30 child abuse cases per every 1,000 children.

There will be more Milk Parties across the state, and certainly more efforts to communicate with those who make the policy and those who are running for the right to do so.

It's not an exaggeration to say this is probably the biggest effort in Florida's history to get children's priorities noticed. The "Milk Party" is certainly a party worth joining.

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