Looking Back While Preparing for 2023

Monday, 26 December 2022 18:11

Looking Back While Preparing for 2023 Featured

Written by Joe Dorman
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OKLAHOMA CITY – As we approach the end of the year, I always like to look back over the past 12 months and celebrate the good things that happened.

If you read this column regularly, you are well aware of how much joy my work brings me in being able to help others. Having the ability to work with so many good men and women to analyze the problems we face as a state and strive to find positive solutions is an amazing blessing.

Looking back over the past year, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) undertook some major projects and saw success with each. While I am anxious to get 2023 started, OICA’s 40th anniversary year, to get to work on new ideas during the legislative session, I want to share with you some of the highlights which brought me joy and set the stage for many good things to come for Oklahoma families.

In collaboration with Hunger Free Oklahoma, a Tulsa nonprofit that works to reduce hunger issues with Oklahomans, we used a grant through the American Heart Association to seek public funding support for a program called Double Up Oklahoma. This program, administered by Hunger Free Oklahoma, uses federal funds and private matching dollars to assist families who qualify for Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars.

With our help, Oklahoma lawmakers saw the success of this program and invested additional state dollars to support this program for families who qualify as a way to improve diets, reduce obesity and provide an offset for the growing cost of groceries. Early numbers are showing an overall improvement in the areas where stores participate.

OICA also became the fourth state affiliate for the national Kid Governor® program, expanding the work of our already successful endeavor for fifth graders to learn about civics and voting, and for one to serve as the Kid Governor of Oklahoma. We have been very fortunate to have Charlotte Anderson of Oklahoma City serve as a two-term Kid Governor through the pandemic years, and we are looking forward to Mila O’Brien from Enid being inaugurated as the next Kid Governor on February 6, the first day of the legislative session.

In addition, OICA worked with Literati Press in Oklahoma City to publish a comic book to help teach about government and how young people can get involved. The story Charles J. Martin and I put together, along with the artwork done by the artists at Literati, helped make this comic a huge success for the young people who used it this year as a learning tool. The more than 1,000 students in the 26 classes that participated in our free program received a complimentary comic for each student to help with the lesson plans. We are excited to grow this program to reach even more fifth-grade classes in 2023, so if you know of a teacher who might be interested, please have them reach out to our office.

Finishing out this year, I was honored to be recognized by The Journal Record on their “Power List” as one of the 50 most influential Oklahomans of 2022. I am fully aware that I could not do my job without the wonderful team at OICA and would not be recognized like this if not for the support of many of you who help us reach our goals.

So, on behalf of our team, thank you for all that you do to help the children of our state. Let’s make 2023 the best year yet for the children of Oklahoma.

  • About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023. The organization was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

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