As we navigate through a world that seems to be in constant flux, it can be easy to feel powerless. We hear about issues impacting our communities and society, but we may not know how to make a difference. That’s where advocacy comes in. Advocacy is about speaking up for what matters to us and is a powerful tool for change. Recently, YWCA Cortland Executive Director, Kelly Tobin, spoke to SUNY Cortland students in Intro to Women and Gender Studies to demonstrate just how powerful advocacy can be.

Kelly taught two classes and briefed her students on YWCA Cortland’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women and the importance of advocacy to progress that mission further. She discussed advocacy and how to advocate effectively, emphasizing that every voice matters. After speaking about the issues facing Cortland County, Tobin and the students chose to hone in on the childcare crisis. This issue profoundly affects not only the community’s parents but college students.

The childcare crisis is a significant issue exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families struggle to find affordable and reliable childcare, impacting their ability to work and provide for their families. The crisis has also disproportionately impacted women, who have had to leave the workforce in large numbers to care for their children.

Read the postcards that were sent to NY Assemblywoman Anna Kelles by clicking the images above.

After learning about how this crisis impacts our community, the students were encouraged to write postcards to Assemblywoman Dr. Anna Kelles, who represents the Cortland area in the New York State Assembly. They shared their concerns about the childcare crisis and urged her to take action to address it. And their efforts paid off! Assemblywoman Kelles responded to the postcards, demonstrating their voices were heard, and that their advocacy could make a difference.