Oklahoma

Recent Articles

Parent Voice Oklahoma Launches in Wake of School Closures

OKLAHOMA CITY – Parents from across the state today held a rally to protest school closures and a lack of parent involvement in education decisions. Now, many of those parents have organized to launch a new group: Parent Voice Oklahoma. The group exists to elevate the role of parents in regard to educational decisions at the school, district, and state level. Parent Voice Oklahoma starts with chapters in Owasso, Deer Creek, and Stillwater. Parents from Heritage Academy, a new Epic Charter School program that emphasizes bilingual learning and Hispanic culture and heritage, have also launched a chapter. Dana Walsh, who attended today’s rally at the State Capitol, said she got involved with Parent Voice Oklahoma because she feels parents are being ignored by local school districts. “We are tired of not being listened to,” said Walsh, an Owasso parent. “Our school boards are making decisions that impact the health and wellbeing of our kids as well as our ability as parents to work. Continue Reading →

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COVID Worsening – It’s Time to Do More to Protect Children

Over the weekend, Oklahoma hit a horrible mark with a record new cases of COVID-19. Oklahoma had 4,741 new cases, almost doubling the previous record high. Combine that with more students returning to in-school learning and we have the potential for a human catastrophe greater than what we already have endured. There are few Oklahomans who have not been impacted in some way by COVID-19. One of my good friends died from COVID-19 last week. Continue Reading →

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Getting Older, Seeing Needs, Working to Meet the Challenge

Part of life is growing older, and I have the distinct pleasure of hitting the half-century mark this week. If you would have asked me in my younger days if I would have lived the life that I have, I doubt that I could have imagined where I would be. With the challenges I faced and experiences that helped shape me, I am grateful to have had an opportunity to help make Oklahoma be a better place to live. “Making things better” should be a goal for all of us – it is the rent we pay to be alive. My latest endeavor is to lead the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA). Continue Reading →

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OICA Continues “Kid Governor,” Calendar Art Programs

OKChildren

One of the most fulfilling parts of our job at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is to engage with our state’s young people and allow them to display their talents.  The “Kid Governor” program certainly provides that opportunity. Oklahoma has, over the past two years, has had Luke Peterson serve as Oklahoma’s Kid Governor, a powerful advocate for helping to raise awareness of children’s issues across the state. Luke was such a strong voice that he was selected to be the first two-term Kid Governor by OICA and Sunbeam Family Services. It is time for him to “pass the torch” to the next Kid Governor, and we at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy are honored to coordinate that process. For the past several years, we have partnered with Sunbeam Family Services for this program that they created, but they have passed that torch to us to lead the selection effort going forward. Continue Reading →

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The Difference Between “Partisan” and “Political”

OICA Works After Elections to Help Leaders Make Good Political Decisions

Now that the party nominees are set for the General Election in November, I wanted to write about the difference between what is “partisan” versus “political.”

As the calendar creeps toward November 3, all of us will be bombarded with rhetoric from politicians seeking our votes. We must be able to decipher what is in our best interest and how you prioritize who should receive your vote. First, let me set the stage. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is a 501(c)(3) organizations, and we are restricted by the Internal Revenue Service. OICA, like all 501(c)(3) organizations, are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Continue Reading →

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Don’t Forget to Vote in the Primary Runoff Tuesday

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Oklahoma Has Strong System of Voting Convenience and Security

For those of you who are registered voters, please do not forget that Tuesday, August 25, is the Primary Runoff Election Day. In total, 50 of our 77 counties will have polls open for voters for at least one race. In 18 Oklahoma counties, there will be a federal or state runoff on the ballot. If you have a question regarding if you have a race in which to vote this election, you can go to https://www.ok.gov/elections/ to check and to get other information about elections. On OICA’s website at oica.org, we have published candidate surveys returned by individuals seeking your votes across the state. Continue Reading →

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Child Advocacy Group Announces People’s Choice Awards

Awards Part of Group’s First-of-its-Kind “Virtual Ball”

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) recently conducted its annual awards and fundraising ball, despite the limitations caused by COVID-19. OICA holds the annual Heroes Ball each summer to recognize those Oklahomans who have worked to improve the quality of life for the state’s youngest residents and to raise money for OICA’s ongoing mission of child advocacy. This year’s Heroes Ball was unique in that it was the first attempt by a nonprofit organization in the nation to conduct a virtual event of this size with meal delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, according to OICA CEO Joe Dorman, exceeded all expectations; other nonprofits who are struggling to find ways to maintain operations in the new COVID-19 normal are considering the model as a means to continue their annual events.             “Our sponsors, donors, ticket purchasers, staff, and volunteers stepped up,” Dorman said. Continue Reading →

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Maintaining Civility Important in Difficult Times

Conversations About Tough Topics Vital for Children

On Monday (Aug. 10), the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy held our weekly Child Advocacy Chat. This weekly teleconference on the Zoom platform allows leaders from various nonprofit and state organizations involved in youth issues to learn from each other. This week, several faith-based leaders joined the call to discuss how the pandemic has impacted their services, the actions of their houses of worship, and how it has affected children who participate. As I planned the discussion, I thought about the old adage about the taboo things which should not be discussed at the dinner table: “religion, politics, and sex.” With our modern times, it feels like that last topic has been replaced by another “s” word: science. Continue Reading →

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Virtual Heroes Ball is a Rousing Success

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OICA Continues to Serve Despite Challenges Created by COVID-19

Thank you to everyone who was a part of the fourth annual Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) Heroes Ball last Friday night. It was a success beyond even our best hopes. The event was held virtually across the Zoom platform, originating from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Postmates provided food delivery to participants. This virtual banquet was a tremendous success, especially for being the first of its kind. Continue Reading →

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OICA Joins Medical Professionals Urging Caution with School Reopening

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Virtual Heroes Ball Set for Friday, July 31

On Monday, the State of Oklahoma saw a record high of 1,401 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. With the surging numbers and impending return to school of many students, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is urging everyone to take caution and protect yourself as much as you possibly can, along with those around you. OICA joined the GotMaskOK coalition to encourage Oklahomans to wear masks. If you are interested in learning more about this and showing support, go to the GotMaskOK campaign (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GotMaskOK/ and website: https://www.gotmaskok.org/) to be a part of this. Also, OICA has aligned with Oklahoma pediatricians and family physicians to encourage safety and precautions before returning the school. Continue Reading →

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