One woman in Illinois, mom-to-be Galicia Malone, cast her vote this morning despite having contractions five minutes apart. According to NBC Chicago, the 21-year-old arrived at the polls for her first presidential election at 8:30 am, even though her water had already broken. She then gave birth at a local hospital.
Chicago’s Cook County Clerk, David Orr, commended Malone for her effort: “If only all voters showed such determination to vote. What a terrific example she is showing for the next generation, especially her new son or daughter.”
In a crowded political assembly, reporters’ lights flash and hands shoot up in hopes of asking Governor Mitt Romney a question. In the front of the crowd a small hand is confidently raised and called upon.
“My name is Sam Wessels, I am 9 and here is my question,” the boy speaks clearly into the microphone. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 1 in 5 American children have a learning disability. Mine is autism. What is happening to America’s most precious resource, her children, and what do you plan to do about it? Thank you.”
Sam’s mother, Lin Wessels, says she will never forget how stunned the crowd was to see a young boy speak so confidently and clearly in that high-pressure situation.
This fifth grader from Iowa has spoken with every Republican candidate that toured his state during caucus season and most recently had the chance to speak with President Obama. His goal is to be a voice for the many children with autism who cannot speak.
Lin Wessels is a strong autism advocate. She has raised her son to understand that the American political process is meant to work for all people, no matter their differentiated ability.
“When we’re on the way to event I always talk to Sam about what he wants to say and what is important to him,” she said.
The family’s most exciting moment yet came when the Wessels were able to meet President Obama.
Wessels proudly remembers her son leaning into the President’s ear and asking if he would join him in standing up for people with autism.
Wessels puts aside her party affiliations when it comes to advocating for her son and others with autism. She is respectful of every candidate and makes sure her son understands what an honor it is to speak with these important people.
So how can the public and the government stand up for people with autism? Wessels says that education is the key.
“We need to make sure general education teachers are educated about autism so they know the reasons behind these children’s behavior,” she said. “Another important issue is finding ways for adults with autism to work in our society.”
Wessels says that what stands out to her the most about her and Sam’s journey is the amount of people who connect with them.
“No matter where we go or who we address, there are always people who come up to us afterward and remark on how grateful they are for what we do,” she said. “Especially to Sam for his courage and bravery to fight for a cause that is so near and dear to so many, including himself.”
Visit the Wessels’ YouTube channel to see some of Sam’s interactions with America’s politicians, and hear what they have to say about autism.
Colorado kids of different ages and backgrounds were asked to share the questions they felt presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney should answer during their debates. These cute and clever kids also share their favorite hobbies and what they want to be when they grow up. Some of the silly and serious questions these kids want to ask include:
Do you like dinosaurs?
How will you decrease childhood obesity?
Will you make the school year shorter?
How can you help me pay for college?
What are you doing to improve children’s health care?
Parents partnered with The Center for the Next Generation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort that aims to help the country come together to create a stronger future for our children. As we gear up for our first presidential debate on October 3—which focuses on domestic policy—we want the candidates to know about parents’ biggest concerns. This infographic spells it out in no uncertain terms.
The big story, of course, is how the recession has impacted all of us. A full 90 percent believe that there aren’t enough jobs that pay enough to support a family. More than a quarter of parents have had to work longer hours (or their partner has) because of the economic downturn. It’s directly affected children, too: 36 percent of parents say that they haven’t been able to afford for their kids to participate in some of the activities their friends participate in.
And in one of the most eye-opening findings, nearly 20 percent of parents said that the recession contributed to their decision not to have another child.
This is surely why two-thirds of parents, when asked to choose between an extra $10,000 per year or an extra hour every day of quality time with their children, opted for the money. It makes you wonder: If you were given the choice, what would you pick?
Here’s hoping that when President Obama and Governor Romney meet in Denver next week, they address the issues that cause so much of the anxiety that goes hand-in-hand with post-recession parenthood.