My next stop in my journey to becoming an advocate

Editor's Note: A belated welcome to our Public Policy Intern, Lauren Deutsch. Lauren is pursuing her master's in public policy at GW. Her first project, besides blogging, is to create a series of fact sheets on the state of early care and education in the District.

As a teenager, I was a counselor at a local day camp for four consecutive summers. Every year, without fail, I was assigned to the four and five year olds. Despite all of the emergency trips to the nurse and the panic stricken swim lessons, I looked forward to returning each summer to learn and grow alongside my campers. I even wrote my college admissions essay about one particular interaction with a young camper (but that’s for another blog…)

During my senior year of college, I began a part-time internship at the National Organization of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) in Arlington, Virginia. My supervisors welcomed my previous work with children and introduced me to the world of policy. Until that point, I had been completely unaware of the overwhelming challenges families face daily to ensure their children are being cared for in a safe, nurturing, and intellectually stimulating environment. Within the capacity of my internship, I combined my commitment to children’s well-being with my newfound interest in shaping public policy.

As the Fall semester turned to Spring, NACCRRA allowed me to continue in my role as the Public Policy and Research Intern. Furthermore, I was not only permitted but highly encouraged to focus my senior seminar project on the effects child care and early education have on our criminal justice system. (As an excellent article that was forwarded to me today stated, "Studies have shown that undernourished and unloved kids become the jail inmates of tomorrow. Is it any wonder that we spend more than twice as much on prisons as we do on poor kids?)

When I learned about the DC Action for Children internship through the Trachtenberg School, I knew immediately that it was my perfect opportunity. I’m eager to complement my formal training with hands-on experience in the local policy arena. I feel very fortunate that DC Action is the next stop on my journey to becoming an advocate for children, youth and families.