Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Platform Update from Cabinet Member Reilly

Hi Everybody!

I hope this blog post finds you all healthy and safe. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting around the table with Ella, 2019 Kid Governor, and my fellow Cabinet members. As you know each of us Cabinet members had a platform. My platform, Foster Care and Adoption, is very near and dear to my heart and I knew that I would always want to support it. 

As a sixth grader at DePaolo Middle School in Southington, I asked my principal, Mr. Chris Palmieri, if I could hold a fundraiser at school where everyone could donate to the DCF Foster Care and Adoption program. The homeroom that donated the most money would win a pizza party, provided by Bard & Son Drywall. I also held a donation drive at our favorite bagel shop, Fancy Bagel, where I asked for donations to support the DCF Foster Care and Adoption program. Between those two fundraisers, I was able to provide over 20 $25 gift cards for children in the program. 

Recently, I asked my all star cheerleading team at Empire Cheerleading & Gymnastics if they’d like to help support the cause and they were so excited to help! Anyone who wanted to participate could make a donation. In return, I would send them ctfosteradopt.com/ 1-888-KID- HERO shoe laces. I asked them to take a picture of themselves wearing the laces and their cheer gear and send it me. I compiled all of the pictures and created a short video. I’d love for you to see it! Go to https://youtu.be/eeZZ8Pxrmb8.

Together, my cheerleading team raised $660 for the DCF Foster Care and Adoption Program!!!

I know it’s a difficult time right now, but it’s never a bad time to support what you’re passionate about. I hope maybe I have inspired you to do the same. Stay well and stay safe!

Your Friend,
Reilly Bard
2019 Kid Governor's Cabinet
Plantsville Elementary School, Class of 2019
Southington, CT

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Library Circuits and CWEALF Award

Hi everyone!

Sorry it has been a while!

I have had a busy couple of months.

I have finished my library circuits and that was really fun!

Me with Mr. C, State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey, and my family.
I got to meet a lot of supporters and I got to tell them about my Pride-Hope-Love platform. I was able to visit five different libraries in East Hartford, Middletown, Colchester, Waterbury, and Fairfield! I had a lot of fun sharing all about my Kid Governor term with everyone who was able to attend. I did a little slideshow about what I have been doing throughout my term. I also got to have the people there do an activity! The activity was how you can show respect to everyone in your community or schools or jobs. I had a great time!

On Tuesday October 1st I received a special award from the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) and I got to go to the award ceremony. This award is given to 4 women from CT each year who have done something to positively impact other women across the state. I am the youngest person to ever receive the award. I felt so humbled to be honored along with the other wonderful women there that night. Congresswoman Johanna Hayes was there as was Congressman John Larson. I also got to see Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. The food there was really good and so was the dessert! When I received my award, I got to make a speech. My speech was all about what I have been doing for my Pride-Hope-Love platform.

How can you show love today?

If somebody is sitting alone during lunch invite them to sit with you and your friends! Always try to make someone’s day better.

Love you all!

Your Kid Governor,

Saturday, August 10, 2019

From the CTKG Cabinet: Reilly's Collections

Hi again everyone! It's me, Reilly, one of the 2019 CTKG cabinet members. So much has happened since I last wrote. Recently, some of the cabinet members, including myself, met with CTKG Ella to select the winner of the Pride-Hope-Love poster contest. It was a close race! Congratulations to winner and all of the students who shared their artwork!

After we selected our top choices, we participated in a meet and greet at the Old State House. During this meet and greet, I collected items for my Fostering Friendships club. People were so generous that I was able to provide the Winifred House with many more goodies, such as pillows, sheets, and toiletries.

Me, Eva, and CTKG Ella speaking with a visitor and taking donations for the collection drive. 
In addition to dropping off donations at the Winifred House, I delivered thirteen full drawstring bags to the Klingberg Family Center in New Britain. Each bag was filled with a blanket, book, activity or stuffed animal. Nicolin Carr, Therapeutic Foster Care and Adoption Programs Recruitment Specialist, along with several of her colleagues gave me a warm reception. These women were so amazing! In addition to Nicolin and her colleagues, Steven A. Girelli, Ph. D., President/CEO of Klinberg Family Centers was there to receive the donations. The drawstring bags will be given to children placed into foster care. It made my day to hear how happy I will make some of the children!

After meeting with these wonderful people, I can't wait to continue my work! I'd love to hear what you're up to in your community that makes a difference with foster care and adoption. Please email me at info@KidGovernor.org. You can also visit CT.KidGovernor.org/Cabinet2019 to read about the other cabinet members.

Plantsville Elementary School
Southington, CT 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Cabinet Meetings and Commercials

Hey everyone!

I have had a great couple of weeks! First of all, I got to have another Cabinet meeting! Melody, Hayden, Eva, and Reilly were able to join me. It was so amazing to catch up with everyone and hear how their platforms are going. You can read more about them in their own blog posts (Reilly's, Hayden's, Eva's)!

Me with Cabinet members Melody, Hayden, Eva, and Reilly. 

At the Cabinet meeting, we did something very special. We chose the top thirteen finalists for my statewide poster contest! The poster contest was held in cooperation with the State Department of Children and Families as part of their 2019 CT Family Day. The final winner will be selected from those top thirteen and then will be used to promote CT Family Day and helping to find forever homes for children who need them. We had about 80 entries and I'll tel you a little secret: they were all amazing! All of them were so colorful, happy, and cheerful! It took us such a long time to choose just the top 40! I am really proud of all of the people who participated in the contest. You can see the top designs on Facebook HERE.

We also had an Open House at Connecticut's Old State House. The Old State House was open to the public and people could come in, walk around, and learn all about Connecticut's government. The Kid Governor's Cabinet and I were there to greet visitors. It was a lot of fun getting to meet all of you and to hear your stories. I also want to thank all of the people who donated to our collection drive to benefit East Hartford and Hartford food pantries, Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation, and the Winifred House. Oh, and those who signed Hayden's Screen Time Pledge

Along with all of that, I shot a special commercial for the CT Sun Pride Night game. I got to meet professional basketball players and I had a really nice time. On July 12th, I will be attending Pride Night for the CT Sun women's basket ball game at Mohegan Sun. I hope a lot of people will come to the game! If you do go, feel welcome to stop me and say "hi!". I would love to meet every single one of you. 

How can you show love today? Think before you speak. Make sure the words you are saying are positive and kind. 

Love you all!

Your Kid Governor, 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Recording My Training Webinar for Teachers

Hey everyone!

It has been a busy few weeks. I finally crossed off my teacher training platform point by presenting a webinar on May 20th. A webinar is kind of like a free podcast that anyone, anywhere can listen to on their phones, iPads, and computers. My webinar was about helping parents, teachers, or anyone who works with children to know how to properly support a child in the LGBTQ community. It was hosted by the State Department of Education. We had a professional trainer named Sarah Free who works at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She is so kind and she specializes in helping people learn to work with LGBTQ students. We also had a student named Luis Cruz from East Hartford High School come and share his personal stories of coming out as gay and being openly part of the LGBTQ community.

Me with Luis and Sarah Free after the webinar. 
I want to thank both of these people so very much from the bottom of my heart for helping me make this happen. I am so grateful, and I couldn't have done it without them. I would also like to thank everyone that has listened to the webinar or will listen to it. I am so thankful that this came out as well as I wanted it to!

I also received a card from some supporters from Nova Scotia, Canada! So here is a special shout out to Evelyn and Joanne for such a kind letter to me. It really brightened up my day!

How can you show love today? Maybe you can help clean up at school or at home without being asked to. It will really make someone feel happy!

Love you all!

Your Kid Governor,

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

You can watch CTKG Ella's Pride-Hope-Love webinar HERE or below.

This webinar was a part of Kid Governor Ella's three-point Pride-Hope-Love platform for LGBTQ+ youth safety and was sponsored by the Connecticut Democracy Center.

Click HERE to access resources from the webinar.

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. 

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!

Pleasant Valley Elementary School
South Windsor, CT 

Platform Update from Cabinet Member Reilly

Hi Everybody! I hope this blog post finds you all healthy and safe. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting around the table with Ell...