Parenting Resource

Strolling Thunder™: Rally Recap

May 8, 2018

Showers of bright smiles under sunny skies mark advocacy day for families on Capitol Hill!

Babies and families from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., descended on Capitol Hill to stand up for America’s babies as part of Strolling Thunder™. Participating families met with members and staff from more than 150 congressional offices to tell them to Think Babies and Act,™ and the group swelled to more than 500 people for a symbolic stroll around the Capitol under perfectly sunny skies.

ZERO TO THREE’S executive director, Matthew Melmed, said the event was a chance to create a tsunami of awareness for federal policymakers.

“The greatest opportunity to influence a child’s life happens between the ages of 0 to 3, when brains grow faster than at any other point later in life,” said Matthew Melmed, executive director, ZERO TO THREE. “When families have the support they need to nourish the critical first few months and years of development with quality interactions and connections, we can stave off challenges down the road.”

A blizzard of pictures using #ThinkBabies and #StrollingThunder swirled onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: A dad changing a diaper inside a congressional office during a meeting. Strollers decorated with flags proudly displaying a baby’s home state. Even a possible future policymaker behind a podium bearing the seal of the U.S. Senate. The Strolling Thunder families captured every moment quickly, clearly well-practiced at capturing the perfect moment before it disappears in a flurry of activity.

“It is such a critical time period in kids’ lives and this event is focused on trying to bring attention to how important all the different factors are that play in at that point in a child’s life to their development,” said Cortney Lollar, a mother to a two year-old boy from Lexington, Kentucky. “Making sure Congress is paying attention to putting policies in place to help that.”

As families from around the nation created a tornado of activity in the halls of Congress, both babies and parents made their voices heard and policymakers from both sides of the aisle listened.

“Investing in our young children is a hallmark and a reflection of the values of this great nation,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, speaking to the Strolling Thunder™ crowd. “If we are not looking out for our youngest, who are we looking out for in this country? We have to fight for the youngest among us with every available resource. It is an investment in our future.”

ZERO TO THREE extends its gratitude to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports the public education aspects of Think Babies™, and the Perigee Fund, which supports the public education and advocacy aspects of Think Babies™. We would also like to thank the many other organizations who helped us identify families and flooded Capitol Hill for the stroll, as well as the policymakers and their staff members who met with Strolling Thunder™ families. And, of course, ZERO TO THREE appreciates the families who took time out from their busy lives for this event. The power of their stories, their commitment, and the presence of their children became the thunder of a storm that won’t be forgotten.

To add your Big Voice for Little KidsTM to theirs, join our ZERO TO THREE Policy Network.

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