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Children in the Spotlight for “Step up for Wyoming Children Week”

October 4, 2010

MOUNTAIN VIEW and EVANSTON, Wyo. - Children take center stage for the state's annual "Step up for Wyoming Kids Week" through Saturday. Carnivals, candidate forums and information fairs are on tap - focusing on how decisions made by elected leaders affect kids, whether in the classroom or the justice system at the courthouse.

Deanna Frey, executive director of the Wyoming Children's Action Alliance, which helps coordinate the events, says she hears often that the Cowboy State is a great place to raise kids, but she knows from the statistics that it could be better.

"When you look at the data, we still have a lot of kids who are living in poverty and children who don't have health insurance. We want to bring awareness to that."

Frey's other concerns include the 19 children who have died of child abuse in recent years and the 27 percent of fourth graders who aren't reading at grade level.

Although government has a role to play in making children's lives better, Frey says this week's campaign also raises awareness about what Wyomingites can do in their own neighborhoods to improve kids' situations.

"We're sending out a call to the community to support after-school programs, boys' and girls' programs, Head Start, child development centers - agencies that really are there to help support working families."

Events are scheduled today in Mountain View at Mt. View Town Park at 4 p.m., and in Evanston at Machine Shop, 6 p.m. Tomorrow they will take place in Casper, Jackson and Riverton. A complete list of the week's events is available at www.wykids.org.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY