The wind, rain and cold did not keep RCSE down this past Friday!  President Cindy Kelley reminded the membership to mark their calendars for Wednesday, December 18th for the Holiday Party.  The party will begin at The Planters Inn with cocktails and light appetizers followed by a trolley ride downtown.  The event is free for members and $10 per guest.  Please sign up with Kerri if you would like to attend.  After all Rotary business items were discussed, Laura Lane McKinnon introduced our speaker for the day, Polly McKinney - Advocacy Director at Voices for Georgia's Children.    
 
Voices for Georgia's Children believes all kids should have their needs met and focuses on the whole child. Polly then spoke on some of the issues as well as the good things that are happening with children in Georgia.  They are currently turning a lot of their attention on the 2020 census.  Studies have shown that birth - age 5 is the most undercounted segment of the population. The state loses $2300 in federal funding for each child missed.  Mental health is an issue for children with the #2 cause of death for ages 10 - 17 being suicide.  Only 11% of children in the Foster System graduate from high school on time.  Another challenge children face is that there isn't anything for them to do afterschool leaving them with a lot of free time.  
 
The good news is that 40% of children in Georgia are participating in the Georgia pre-k program.  There is good funding for mental health and admissions is down 40% to detention facilities since 2013.  Voice for Georgia's Children has realized the importance of talking to children and asking how they feel and really listening to the kids.  There are many opportunities for us to engage with a few being: donating money, donating supplies, reading to children, supporting the local food bank, becoming foster parents, hosting training, advocating for funding, and signing up for the Voices for Georgia's Children newsletter.  
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