Public Policy and Advocacy with Cara Luebke
Cara Luebke is the new Public Policy Coordinator at the Child Care Aware Coordinating Office. After minoring in child advocacy studies in college, Cara is returning to this work after completing a master’s program in Advocacy and Political Leadership and working in youth development and advocacy.
Cara sees her position as supporting other advocates to provide the resources, knowledge, and space to grow their own skills. Rather than only having paid lobbyists do advocacy work, she finds it more powerful when everyone engages in advocacy in various ways.
Currently, Cara is coordinating the next cohort of the CARE Fellows, a 9-month program for people who work in all aspects of early childhood and school-age care and education. Each year, up to 25 participants meet monthly to learn about the history of early care and education policy, how public systems work, and how the Fellows can help to facilitate change. Cara is excited about helping this program continue to grow and expand, including developing a long-term funding and finding more ways to involve and engage program alumni.
Cara is especially passionate about helping improve wages for early educators so that they can make a sustainable wage. She is encouraged by the growing momentum and political energy to fix the problem of low wages, and would like to see this momentum continue to build until the problem is solved.
When Cara was asked what she would say to someone in the early childhood field who wants to get involved in advocacy, she said:
“I like to think of advocacy as a mindset and personal ethos because a lot of people are already advocates and just don’t know it or have the language. Think about a time you said something to someone about something that was wrong, or you experienced something that made you angry and you took action. That’s being an advocate!
When we think that everything is broken and we need to fix it all, that mindset becomes decimating and unsustainable. The work of building a better community is on all of us, so if you feel like you are the one and only person saying, ‘I have to fix this’ it’s overwhelming, and you will become disillusioned.”
For more information about advocacy resources from Child Care Aware of Minnesota, please visit our advocacy web page.