Wednesday, June 12, 2019

From the CTKG Cabinet: Eva Greenspan

Hi! My name is Eva Greenspan and I was one of the seven finalists in the 2018 Connecticut's Kid Governor Statewide Election. I'm currently working on the Kid Governor's Cabinet with 2019 CTKG Ella!

My platform is about the issue of child poverty. I decided to help prevent child poverty because, in my lifetime, it has always made me feel bad seeing homeless people on the streets, especially when there is a child with them. I have always wanted to help them. When my teacher told us about the Kid Governor program, I thought this would be the perfect time to help! I am so excited to be a part of the Cabinet and I think that Ella is doing an amazing job with her platform!

Me and Ella on Inauguration Day!

Throughout this whole year, I have held collection drives in my school, Norfeldt Elementary in West Hartford, to help support my platform. We have had a spare change drive, a winter gear drive, and we are now in the middle of a toiletry drive. For the spare change drive, we raised $500 to donate to Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation in Hartford. During our winter gear drive, we filled over 10 huge trash bags with hats, coats, gloves, mittens, scarves, snow pants, and boots to donate to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Our toiletry drive will end in about a week and we have already gotten a lot of donations! I am so excited to present the toiletry and spare change donations to the Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation!

Me standing next to the toiletry donations.
I hope this program has inspired you to make a difference! If this has inspired you, I would love to hear what you are doing to make a difference. Share what you've been doing to make a difference by emailing info@kidgovernor.org! You can also send me your questions there too. 

-Eva
Eric G. Norfeldt Elementary School
West Hartford, CT


A message from your friends at the Connecticut Democracy Center...

On Saturday, June 8th, CTKG Ella and Cabinet members Eva, Hayden, Melody, and Reilly attended Open House Day at Connecticut's Old State House. While at the event, the Cabinet held a collection drive for nonperishable food items and toiletries. Hayden also was collecting signatures for his Screen Time Pledge to encourage students to cut back their screen time. 

The Connecticut Democracy Center and the Kid Governor Team would like to thank all of the visitors to the museum who donated to the collection drive and helped to support the platforms of the Kid Governor's Cabinet. To learn more about the Cabinet, click HERE

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

From the CTKG Cabinet: Hayden Xhokaxhiu

Hello, my name is Hayden Xhokaxhiu, one of the six finalists in the 2018 Connecticut's Kid
Governor Statewide Election. I'm now working on the Kid Governor's Cabinet with 2019 CTKG Ella!

I ran for Kid Governor because I realized a big problem that even I had. People, including kids like us, spend way too much time using electronics. Humans these days don't seem to understand the beauty in this world. Instead, they are on their phones, computers, TV, etc. So when I realized this had been going on, it truly motivated me to do something about it.

What Overuse of Electronics Can Do To You
When I say "what overuse of electronics can do to you," I mean what they can do to you over time if you use them too much. I don't want you to read this and then break your computer! Technology is one of the biggest resources in the world for information, knowledge, and education. Use your electronics to your advantage, not your disadvantage. Using electronics in a negative way is when they gain "control" over you. Another word for this is called an addiction. When you use too much screen time, it causes some side effects. For example, eye damage, a glaring effect, in which the bright light from the electronic screen can cause your eyes to have blurry vision and can cause headaches. These consequences can lower your ability to learn in school which can cause you to struggle later in life.

How You Can Lower Screen Time
You can lower your screen time by first making a commitment to yourself. What I did was read more. Then I started to step it up and do some different activities, like join a basketball team in town in addition to playing soccer. I chose to play outside more with my buddies in the neighborhood. When you do this, it gives you things to do other than just sitting, head bent, looking down at your phone. You can also attack this problem differently than I did. You could play with your friends, take an art class, take part in a club, or go swimming in a pool or at the beach on beautiful summer days.

You can also track your screen time and as weeks go by, you can try to lower it even more until you reach your goal. A good goal is about one hour a day of electronics time. That means only spending seven hours a week instead of twenty hours playing addicting games-- yes, this means Fortnite!

What I'm Doing to Help Others on this Issue
I'm encouraging 5th graders at my school to do other things instead of using electronics like playing
outside, doing crossword puzzles, and playing games with your family. Next, I have created a pledge that I am including in this post (click HERE!) where kids can sign it and use the screen time tracker that comes with it. It is one week long and helps to track how much you have decreased your screen time. Keep using it every week until you have reached your goal! Half of my class has signed the pledge and taken on the challenge. Finally, I am brainstorming ideas for a "shout-out program" that highlights the kids who have greatly decreased their screen time over summer break.

I'd love to hear how much screen time you've cut out during the week! Email me at info@KidGovernor.org to tell me about it. You can also visit CT.KidGovernor.org/cabinet2019 to read about the other cabinet members.

Thanks for reading!

-Hayden
Pleasant Valley Elementary School
South Windsor, CT 

Friday, May 31, 2019

CTKG Ella's Poster Contest & Meet the Cabinet on June 8th!

A message from your friends at the Connecticut Democracy Center...

Earlier this week, Connecticut's Kid Governor Ella announced her partnership with the Department of Children and Families for their CT Family Day Poster Contest. Fifth graders across the state of Connecticut are invited to create a piece of original artwork that shows what Pride-Hope-Love means to their families. The winning piece of artwork will be incorporated into a poster or a calendar used to promote CT Family Day 2019.


For Contest Rules and Information, visit CT.KidGovernor.org/CTKGElla/poster.

All submissions for the contest should be emailed to Ella@CT.KidGovernor.org by Friday, June 7, 2019.





Along with the poster contest, the Connecticut's Kid Governor team announced that CTKG Ella and members of her Cabinet will be at Connecticut's Old State House on Saturday, June 8th for Open House Day. Ella, Melody, Reilly, and Hayden will be meeting with constituents and visitors from 12pm to 1pm during the event. Visitors are encouraged to support the Cabinet members by:
  • Bringing a canned good or non-perishable food item to support Melody's Food for All platform
  • Bringing a toiletry item such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, etc. to support Reilly's Fostering Friendships platform and Eva's platform to end childhood poverty. 
  • Signing Hayden's Screen Time Pledge to reduce the amount of time on mobile devices or computers to support his platform to Limit Time Spent on Electronics
To learn more about the event, download the flyer HERE.

Learn more about the Cabinet by clicking HERE

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

From the CTKG Cabinet: Reilly Bard

Hello everyone!

I am Reilly Bard, one of the seven finalists in the 2018 Connecticut's Kid Governor Statewide Election. Now I am working on the Kid Governor's Cabinet with 2019 CTKG Ella!

Me and CTKG Ella in her office during Inauguration Day 2019!

I ran a platform of foster care and adoption. Someone near and dear to my heart was in foster care and was then adopted. He was brought into a loving home where his adoptive parents made his transition between home and school as smooth as possible. Not all foster care or adopted children have that same experience. I wanted to help! My three-point platform plan included:
  1. Create a Fostering Friendships Club-- a club designed to bring students living in foster homes, students who have been adopted, and students willing to make connections with these children together in hopes of developing true friendships. 
  2. Hold fundraisers to support this cause.
  3. Create a blog to inform and celebrate what cool activities these students are participating in. 
Since the Statewide Election, I have been super busy. With the help of my amazing social studies teacher, Mrs. Chavez and awesome school social worker, Miss Reney, I have visited the Winifred House, a Bridge Family Center Short-term Assessment and Respite Home (STAR) for young women, in Southington. I met Michael Rulnick, Director of Residential Services, Doreen Tarascio, Director of Communications, and other essential staff members that make the Winifred House a great place for young women to live in. While on this visit, I learned that I, along with my classmates, could make their stay more special.

I created a fundraiser where students could not only give to a great cause but could also have fun while doing it! During an assembly, I rolled out the fundraiser to my peers. This fundraiser began with a pajama day! Each day students brought in items such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash. After one week, I collected over 380 items to give to the Winifred House.

Me with some of the items that students in my school donated for the Winifred House.

My next fundraiser will benefit students in foster care and adoption though the Klingberg Family Center. Stay tuned for what comes of that. It's very exciting!

If you would like to support my platform, you can donate to my Fostering Friendships Club, become a foster parent, or reach out to the Klingberg Family Center to ask how you can help.

I'd love to hear how you are making a difference regarding foster care and adoption in your community. Email me at info@KidGovernor.org to tell me about it! You can also visit CT.KidGovernor.org/cabinet2019 to read about the other members of the Kid Governor's Cabinet.

Thanks for reading!

-Reilly
Plantsville Elementary School
Southington, CT

Friday, May 3, 2019

My First Meeting with my Cabinet!

Hey everyone!

We had our first cabinet meeting this week and it was so much fun! The Kid Governor Cabinet includes the six other finalists from the Statewide Election back in November. The members of the cabinet are Eva, Hayden, Jason, Madison, Melody, and Reilly. They are all such nice people and it is an honor to be able to work with them.


At the meeting, we got to know each other a bit more by completing a scavenger hunt that was set all over Connecticut's Old State House. We had to solve clues to bring us to our next location and then take selfies with an iPad to prove that we had solved the clue! One of the clues brought us to the downstairs costume room and we all had to dress up in fun costumes. I dressed up as a 90s rock star, Eva was a lion, Jason was a basketball player, and Melody and Reilly were circus performers! We all had a great time.


After the scavenger hunt, we shared a pizza dinner together and then it was time to get down to business. We held our meeting in the Kid Governor's Office (which was once the Grown Up Governor's office). The first thing we discussed was how we were all doing with working on our own individual platforms. I updated the Cabinet on my progress with the guide I am writing to start GSAs in schools, the teacher webinar that I am working on to train educators on LGBTQ issues, and the poster contest I'd like to run to help advocate for foster homes for LGBTQ youth.

Eva mentioned how she had run a toiletry drive at her school to help get needed supplies for families who may not be able to afford them. Reilly did a blanket and pillow collection at her school to donate to local foster homes. Melody has been organizing food drives at her school to benefit local food pantries. Jason is building a Little Library in his community. Hayden is running a screen-free week with a screen-free pledge. We all brainstormed ideas about what we can do to help each other achieve the goals we set during our campaigns. We then went into a Facebook Live video where we answered questions from our constituents. If you go to the CT's Kid Governor Facebook page, you can watch the video!

Overall, it was an amazing experience to get to know and work with such a passionate group of students who obviously care a lot about their causes. I can't wait until our next meeting!


How can we all show love today? You can work hard in school to always be a role model for others by being kind not only to other students but also the adults in the building. Your teachers love you, make sure to show your love back!

Love you all!

Your Kid Governor,











A message from your friends at the Connecticut Democracy Center...

Stay tuned for upcoming guest blog posts from the six cabinet members to learn all about the incredible work that they are each doing in their communities!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

True Colors Conference

Last month was really exciting! On Friday, March 22, I went to the True Colors Conference at the University of Connecticut. True Colors is the "largest LGBT youth conference in the country" and has been happening every year since 1994! Every year, thousands of LGBTQ youth and their allies attend this amazing event. I was lucky enough to be asked to be a part of the opening ceremony. I was able to speak to over 2,500 students, teachers, and others about my Pride-Hope-Love platform and my focus on LGBTQ youth safety.


My good friends from the state government, Representative Jeff Currey and State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, also spoke at the opening ceremony. I also got to meet Representative Themis Klarides, leader in the House of Representatives.  Afterwards, I was able to attend several workshops that highlighted the LGBTQ youth experience. There were many different choices but my sister Riley and I decided to go to one where you could decorate a drawstring bag to show how you are unique and diverse. I chose a blue drawstring bag and put rainbows and hearts all over it.

During lunch, my family and I got to eat in a special room with the rest of the speakers. I had two pieces of pizza and a soda. Then it was time for the second workshop of the day. Riley and I both chose something called Genderbread. We decorated gingerbread cookies any way we wanted to to show that gender expression is an individual thing. I made mine with a smiley face, bow tie, and pants. At the end we got to eat them. Mine tasted so good!

At the end of the day we went to one more workshop. My sister and I both went to a dancing workshop. We learned how to salsa dance. Usually in partner dancing, the man gets to take the lead but the focus for the day was teaching everyone how to lead the dance, regardless of gender. It was so much fun and so funny!

The True Colors Conference was truly amazing! I highly recommend that you try to go next year, I know I'll be there!

How can you show love today?
Stand up for someone who you can tell is getting picked on. When you're getting bullied, it's always nice to have a friend.

Love you all!

Your Kid Governor,

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

RULER and Kids Night on Broadway!

Hi everyone!

Wow - it has been kind of crazy these last couple of weeks! On Tuesday, February 26th, I had the honor of being invited to a Yale conference for mental wellness and happiness that was put on by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. This conference focused on a program that Yale has come up with called RULER. According to their website: “RULER is an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools, developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER applies ‘hard science’ to the teaching of what have historically been called ‘soft skills.’ RULER teaches the skills of emotional intelligence — those associated with Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating Emotion.” This is a training program for educators all across the state.

Me with my mom, sister Riley, and dad!
At this conference, we were able to take different workshops for what we wanted to learn more about. My first class was about mental wellness in middle schools because pretty soon I'm going to be in sixth grade. The whole class was about how we can help our middle schoolers feel happy and calm at school and at home. The next class I took was about LGBTQ youth and the struggles that they face. The session was mostly about transgender and non binary students at our schools, but it did also talk about lesbian and gay students. I had the opportunity in this workshop to share my experience as a student who is a part of the LGBTQ community and talk to the educators in the room about how to help those students feel more emotionally supported in their schools. I had a lot of fun in both of my workshops and then we got to have lunch! I had chicken and salad. My sister Riley ate a whole chicken!

"I had the opportunity in this workshop to share my experience as a student who is a part of the LGBTQ community and talk to the educators in the room about how to help those students feel more emotionally supported in their schools."
Afterwards, we got in the car and went to New York City. That night was a special event called Kids Night on Broadway. We met our best friends at a pizza place then we went to a show called Come From Away. It was about how when 9/11 happened, people who were flying during the attacks had to  land in Canada and stay there for six days until they could go back home! It was a fantastic show. After the show we had a real treat! The writer of the show had seen some news reports about the Kid Governor program and my platform, so she invited me and my family to head backstage to meet some of the cast and see what it is like backstage on Broadway. I got to meet Jenn Colella! She is a Tony nominated actress and a big advocate for the LGBTQ community. I was thrilled! After that, we slept over in New York City.

The next day I went to school and got back to work on the guide I'm writing. It is all about how to jump start a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) for elementary school students. I am writing it with my friends who are part of the new GSA at my school. I have also asked my sister to contribute some illustrations ! I hope that at some point, students will be able to read the guide and get some ideas about how to create safe spaces in their own schools.


My question for readers this week is: How can I show love today?

If you notice someone at school who might be struggling in math, science, or English, offer to help them out!

Your Kid Governor, 
-Ella

From the CTKG Cabinet: Eva Greenspan

Hi! My name is Eva Greenspan and I was one of the seven finalists in the 2018 Connecticut's Kid Governor Statewide Election . I'm cu...