What Will the Fight for Child Care Look Like in 2023? (with Lauren Kennedy & Sarah Muncey)

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“The state of child care in America right now is hopeful.” While affordable, accessible, high-quality child care remains out of reach for millions of families across the country, Lauren Kennedy and Sarah Muncey, founders and co-presidents of Neighborhood Villages, see sparks of positive change in the year ahead. They talk Gloria through some of the big child care wins from the past year, explain why the Child Tax Credit was a total game-changer, and lay out why the next phase of this movement will focus on local action. Plus, Gloria shares some exciting news about No One Is Coming to Save Us Season 3!

This podcast is presented by Neighborhood Villages, and is brought to you with generous support from Imaginable FuturesCare For All Children by the David and Laura Merage Foundation, and Spring Point Partners.

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Gloria Riviera, Sarah Muncey, Lauren Kennedy

Gloria Riviera  00:11

Hi, everyone. Oh my gosh, I hope you all enjoyed the holiday in whatever way shape or form you and your family celebrate. My family had a relatively chill, no pun intended Christmas. I miss my family on the west coast so much. But being here is exactly what we needed after this whirlwind year 2023 is almost upon us. And it really is that old cliche time of year, time of life maybe, when the days feel so long. And the years feels so short, particularly resonant for me as a mom, a caregiver, a giver of the care. This is No One Is Coming to Save Us, a Lemonada Media original, presented by and created with neighborhood villages. I am your host, Gloria Riviera. So as I was saying this idea of being the giver of care, it brings me to this concept of giving, apt for this time of year. One of the many things that stops me in my tracks is that my concept of giving in the context of childcare is that we give without knowing, right? We as caregivers give to our children without knowing what exactly we will receive in return or when, I don’t think it’s an if the majority of us I would hope no, we will get something, a feeling of love. I hope back at some point in time, but we don’t know. It just may manifest as a foot stomping on the ground, crossed arms even you are the worst person on the planet. This morning, my middle guy left in a half. Because of some horrifying infraction on my part. I made him stop before going out the door. We can feel angry, but we don’t need to leave feeling only angry at each other. I told him. This was just minutes ago. And then I said I love you, […] was his response. But I swear I saw the hint of a small smile on his face. That, that is something back. And it changed how I feel for the better. The thing is in childcare and early education, we have the data. We know all the things about all the things high quality, affordable and accessible care do for children, caregivers and early educators. They know, they know what they do has an irrefutable impact on young children for the betterment of their lives as they live them. They know the impact their work has on parents. It is the gift of breathing room, to look for a job, to do a job, to find an apartment, to be an active member of their community, to care for others to care for themselves and more. So much more. I remember a story. I first heard it through the writer Angela Garbus. A guest on this show. It was about a single mother who use the Child Tax Credit during COVID to hire a babysitter. So she could do things like join the school board. Incredible, affordable, high quality and accessible childcare is the gift of stability for all of us at a time we need it the most other countries know this. They see it and they do something about it. It is time we in this country did so too. We cannot give up for one simple reason. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our guests today know that perhaps more acutely everyday than anyone else. Lauren Kennedy and Sarah Muncey the co-founders and co-presidents of neighborhood villages and our esteemed partners on this show. These women are out there building systems and changing childcare in this country for the better, bit by bit, step by step. They’re going to tell me all about the state of childcare right now as we head into 2023. And what is on the horizon in the next year. Here now is my conversation with the unstoppable Lauren Kennedy and Sarah Muncie.

Gloria Riviera  04:19

Lauren and Sarah, it is so good to see you both on this show. I cannot believe we are at the end of season two. It is crazy. But here we are. And I want to start with a temperature check and just ask you both. I’ll start with Sarah. Where are we? What is the state of child care in America in this great country of America right now?

Sarah Muncey  04:43

It is the seat of childcare in America right now is hopeful.

Gloria Riviera  04:49

I’ll take hopeful.

Sarah Muncey  04:51

It is, because what’s happening right now is that there was so much energy and attention that we had to put into trying to get build back better by asked and trying to get this passed in different states trying to get this legislation. And a lot of it didn’t pass. But that’s okay. Because what that means is that we can get more specific and more tactical. And the other thing we can do at the same time, not instead of is that states are starting to build child care systems. And so now is an exciting and hopeful time, it is a race to be the first who’s going to be the Massachusetts of the Affordable Care Act, who is going to be the first person to like, get to a comprehensive system. And I think a lot of states are doing really amazing work. And New Mexico in particular feels like there’s so much momentum there. So in my mind, right now, all these different states are working out all these different pieces to how this infrastructure how the system is going to work. And simultaneously, we have a lot of movement building to do. So we have a lot of work to do, both in system of movement building, and systems building. But we get to do it and people are listening. And it’s going, you know, it’s not just theoretical. So I don’t know, I feel really hopeful.

Gloria Riviera  06:14

Well, I like that. I like that attitude, right? It’s a very can do attitude. And yes, I’ve written this roller coaster along with you, and really struggled to get through the lower points of that roller coaster, but I feel like we are on the up and up. Lauren, what do you like most about what has happened in New Mexico, tell us where they started and where they are now?

Lauren Kennedy  06:37

Well, they started probably in a moment that Sarah just described, which was a mix of righteous outrage and hopefulness and in November passed a ballot measure that makes a constitutional right or requirement that a good amount of public funding go into financing their early education and care system. And in addition to being a really exciting example of how movement building results, and really comprehensive policy change, is that they’ve answered the question how you’re going to pay for it, which is the question that always stands in the way of everybody saying, We love kids, we love childcare. We love working moms, about how you’re going to pay for it. So I think in New Mexico is really exciting, and that you can’t use that excuse anymore, that they have now a constitutional requirement that public funds we put into early education and care expanding access for families across New Mexico. And that’s in addition to some really great stuff that came out of the legislature to expand income eligibility for childcare subsidies, and to re kind of look at two different ways of getting at childcare transformation. Partnership with the legislature and the governor, putting things on the ballot and putting change in the hands of the people to make their voices heard.

Gloria Riviera  08:11

Right. And it was not a quick fix, right? They were working on this. I think the number is 1010 years, they were working on this and they to sort of they lived what we all lived with build back better, which was high points, low points, and they kept going. That’s what I took away from looking at how long they fought to get what they needed. And the numbers actually, I mean, like you maybe Sarah, you can tell us because you’ve spoken so passionately about the mothers that you’ve come into contact with. But when you’re living, essentially paycheck to paycheck, I just read an article about a mother named Alicia found on CNN. And she was working 30 hours a week also going to college and also trying to find someone to care for her child. So she could do all of those things. And the additional money she received. And this is a combination of you know, extended COVID relief. And then now under this new policy in New Mexico. You know, we’re talking about a couple $100 a month that is life changing. Can you walk us through what balancing a checkbook can look like? And what kind of money we’re talking about. We’re not talking about, you get a car, you get a car, you get a car, we’re talking about a little help.

Sarah Muncey  09:33

One of the things that I love about what’s happening in New Mexico is that what they’re saying is like, no, it’s zero, like we have a responsibility to like give sort of the promise of this nation to every kid. And what it does for a family is really incredible. And if you think about that number of a couple $100 a month we saw what the expanded Child Tax Credit did. It was the biggest cut to poverty ever and it was immediate, because big shocker. Like you give people money and they spend it on feeding their kids. That’s what they use it for. They feed their kids, they go to the doctor, they get that dental filling, and they worry a little bit less. And that has a really big effect on their family. And so if you’re in New Mexico, and they went from 200% of sort of the free and reduced lunch rate, giving income LGB all the way to 350%. And all of the people who got brought under that umbrella. For some of them, that means paying their light bill, a lot of people right now are paying one bit, which is the latest bill and paying that one, but not the one you paid last month. So taking away that stress, being able to just pay your bills, diapers are huge right now, so many families are struggling with reusing diapers. And the most important thing though, I think I’m talking a little bit starting at the bottom of the income spectrum, like way, way, way bottom, and, you know, staying house, keeping the lights on and all of those things. But it can also give you the breathing room, if you’re able to pay all those bills that month, maybe when that promotion comes up, or you see that there’s a class we wanted to take, or these opportunities come to better your own family, your own economic mobility, you take them, it takes people out of survival mode, to just have a little bit more money and it’s huge, and it has an actual biological effect on you and your child to bring your stress levels down. And these are not, you know, nobody’s buying a Maserati here. People are buying food, diapers, medical care, dental care, glasses, things, they they’re not affording themselves because our country kind of doesn’t set them up to have what they need.

Gloria Riviera  11:53

Lauren, one of the things that I’m looking forward to observing in the next five years is how these kids who enter New Mexico’s childcare system at a very, very early age, I want to see a study 10 years down the road 15 years down the road, to see how their lives have been positively impacted. We hope we expect that is the goal. By the child care the good, high quality, accessible, affordable child care they will now have, do you see any other local initiatives around the country that make you think of New Mexico?

Lauren Kennedy  12:24

There have been really, really exciting things that have happened in states is there was saying, we’re not waiting for the feds to make this happen. We’re making change happen within our states and at a really local level. And I think Washington DC has had some really incredible things happen within the district both compensation increases that they provided to educators in early education and care, they also just put into place a health care benefit, where employees of licensed early education and care programs can access free or reduced premium health insurance huge not just for educators, but huge for the employers, and you paired together increase in compensation with health care benefits. And now we’re on our way to finally respecting teachers in early education and care classrooms, as the teachers that they are, we’re also going to offer them the benefits that finally reflect the value of what they’re providing to kids to families day in and day out.

Gloria Riviera  13:32

Well, first, I would say let’s not give up on Congress. Let’s keep the drumbeat, lets you know, at least push to see a reintroduction of the childcare investment that was part of build back better. There’s no reason why we can’t pick that up, put it in a piece of legislation, file it and rally around it. We have to get to a place in this country where we have universal, affordable, high quality childcare, that pays its educators a living wage, we can’t stop that we can’t allow, you know, for any new congressional session, not to include a bill, it’s not acceptable that we wouldn’t at least try,

Gloria Riviera  13:32

So let’s do a compare and contrast. Because so many times on this podcast, we’ve looked at teachers and we started by saying, okay, everybody’s leaving, there’s a flood out, there’s an exodus of mass proportions out of the classroom to places like Target and Starbucks and Amazon that can pay 17 $18 an hour. And these teachers are leaving poverty level wages. And that’s it. And they’re overworked. And they’re stressed, and lots of other negative impacts that are happening because of how we treat our caregivers. Now we juxtapose that with what, let’s say is going to happen very soon in Washington DC, if not already, which is that legislation is passed to provide health care at licensed early education centers. And we’re working on increasing pay. So while it isn’t the big sweeping announcement from the White House that we were going to really invest in child care across the country. It doesn’t mean it’s not happening, in terms of childcare, if what is going to happen is now up to each state on its own. What is your recommendation for how to focus your efforts? You’re in Massachusetts and yet you have a national awareness of childcare? What do people do now? And I know we always talk about voting and showing up. But is there anything more concrete that people can put their hands on?

Gloria Riviera  15:32

Right? I mean, I’m having an aha moment right now. And I have a smile on my face. Because what I’m hearing you say is, oh, we can’t forget that, like that fight still needs all of our energy. But we also have to have renewed energy at the local state level, right? Like, we need to fight on several fronts here, we need to rally with the general and ask where I’m being dispatched to. But the answer is everywhere. You’re being dispatched everywhere, you have to be involved in everything you can to get high quality, affordable, accessible care.

Lauren Kennedy  16:02

And certainly at the state level, we know that change is afoot in each state. And we’re starting to see a playbook for what anybody in any state across the country should start asking for can start asking for the strategy behind how to ask for it. So that as they’re saying, we figure out who gets there first.

Gloria Riviera  16:43

And Sarah, what are the big lessons to take from New Mexico? I mean, one of the things that Lauren touched on was, guess what? We figured out a way to pay for it, how can we take that playbook and adapt it state to state what’s the smartest way to go about that?

Sarah Muncey  16:57

Well, there’s like the funding piece and the passing the legislation that sets up a system. And so one thing I would recommend is that people not wait thinking that there’s has to be some big sweeping legislation in their state, you can encourage your state, you can find out what the next thing that needs to get over the goalpost and your state is. And once you start knowing about those things, it’s when it’s when the phone calls to the legislators getting specific, and they’re like, oh, shit, they’re really tracking this issue. So don’t be afraid to like dig into your state. So that’s one thing. Another thing we learned from New Mexico was they got really creative, they went to the State House, and they brought their children and they had circle time citizens. And that’s how they protested and made it visible. And I think we’re going to have to be really visible. And out in the open about the fact that we need childcare. One thing people can really do is start being open and honest, if you’re having a like really crappy time finding childcare, call your legislator and tell that to their office, be like I have a message for that. I’m trying to find care from 6am to 8am. And this is what I’m going through, what would you have me do? We’re not used to asking for what we need around childcare, because it’s supposed to be private, we’re going to need to be like really open and honest about our stories, we need to like hold everyone’s feet to the fire. And that’s something you can do is start asking about it. So I think we have this time right now to really embed ourselves into this movement and figure out what our role is going to be in the next six to eight months. But, but a lot is going to happen. And also one thing I’ve noticed here in Massachusetts, Massachusetts does not like to be second.

Gloria Riviera  18:45

Ooh, so they’re eyeing New Mexico.

Sarah Muncey  18:47

Yeah, I mean, and that’s important, like we like in Massachusetts, to have the expertise to experts. And to do everything first, we have the first nation’s first public school system. And I think a little bit of competition between states here would actually be really good.

Gloria Riviera  19:03

Well, as you’re talking about two things I take away is one that just the image of a circle time protest, right and how powerful the presence of a small child can be in a political context. And I think showing up with our kids in the right context, and the right in front of the right audience is so key. I just had this experience this week where we’re I was driving my daughter to school yesterday and took one look at her eye and I was like, What happened to you? And took a page right out of my own mom’s playbook and just kept driving past the school right to the doctor, no appointment, nothing. And we’ve gotten all these messages like you’re gonna have to experience you might be added to the waitlist. The doctors are really they’re crazed so many visits. And I just marched in there and at first they told me Oh, you can have a time at three o’clock which was six hours away. And actually my daughter said, well, how long is it till three o’clock mommy and I’m like right in front of the receptionist, like six hours. And then she said, actually, we can see right away A, my point is, Listen, I got lucky somebody cancelled. But my point is, there is an equation. And you put several things into it, but it results in somebody connecting with you. Whether you’re a teacher or a caregiver, or a lawyer or whomever you are, in whatever capacity fighting for childcare, and hearing you. And that’s what we’ve been up against is that for whatever reason, it feels like the arguments haven’t been heard. But now people are listening. Lauren, how do you think that translates? And then like, what kind of ways do you see that translating?

Lauren Kennedy  20:42

When the opportunity is a different type of visibility now, we’re not we’re still experiencing waves and repercussions of this pandemic. But we can be together we can walk into the brick and mortar office; we can have that sit in as ourselves with our kids. And not only are, you know, kids, cute and compelling to be around, they’re also highly disruptive. So I would love to disrupt your workday, with my crying, screaming child. That she has disrupted my workday for the last I would say like two and a half years, but really, you know, all seven years of her beautiful life. It is showing up, it is standing at someone’s desk, and it is saying I’m here to tell you my story. And I’m not on the phone, or I’m not a floating head in a Zoom call. I am here as a person, and I am here with my child. And as Sarah said, how are you going to help me find childcare at 6am tomorrow? Because if you can’t help me, I’m going to lose my job. And if I lose my job, what does that mean for my family? You represent me, in Congress, you represent me in the state house, you’re supposed to make sure that I live in a state or I live in a country where this is in my reality.

Gloria Riviera  22:04

I need help. And I need to do my job. And it makes me think of season one. Do you guys remember when we looked at what happened in World War Two, where there were so many pop up childcare centers, early education centers around the country? I mean, what I was thinking, as you’re just talking, Lauren was that people saw women, not the children, but they saw women who they needed for the war effort. They needed women to go to work to support the war effort. That’s why early education centers came to be during World War Two, not because somebody looked around and said, wait a minute, we had to take care of these kids. It was because women mothers were needed in a different capacity and context. And it’s also why those early education centers were dismantled at the end of the war. So yes, I mean, I agree that I admire you both because you’re so full steam ahead. And sometimes I feel like during the course of this second season of known as coming to save us, I’ve gotten stuck, I’m stuck in the mud. And I’m mad about this, I’m annoyed about that. And I’m frustrated with this perception or that perception, but the truth of the matter is get out of it, get out of the sinkhole, and keep moving forward. So, when you look at what will happen in DC, let’s just take a moment because we’ve paused a different political moments in the last two years. Where are we now in Washington? And what are our best opportunities?

Lauren Kennedy  23:48

We have January coming upon us, well, there will be a new class of Representatives and Senators, what are you going to do within the first month within the first six months of your session of your tenure here? Who is going to be the one who introduces the bill that puts universal affordable childcare back on the table? Or, you know, we saw in the last session Republican proposal to at least put more money into the pre-existing Child Care Development Block Grant, who’s the person on the Republican side of the aisle who’s going to step forward and say, Okay, here’s at least my proposal, here’s my contribution to the conversation. So the world is our oyster looking at us, starting with everybody is sworn in, in January.

Gloria Riviera  24:38

I mean, do we have our eye on anyone? Are we looking to see is that going to be who steps up? Is that going to be who steps up? Or is it kind of mystery right now?

Sarah Muncey  24:48

We are starting to see more folks who are closer to the child care struggle. Be in Congress. The best answer I’ve ever heard a politician give on childcare. Because usually it’s like, it’s important. And it’s the children are our future, you know, and you’re like, Oh, you don’t know anything. Raphael Warnock. He gave the best answer than I’ve ever heard on childcare. He like, almost like physically rolled up his sleeves. It was like, well, first of all, this is why it’s so important. Second of all, we need to pay people enough. Third, and he just knew that issue. And so I just want to say that to me, like that’s also really hopeful, like each of these races seems important. But in aggregate, what it means is more and more people who not only understand that childcare is important, but understand that it’s intersectional, that like, we can’t really do anything and housing, we can’t do anything for women, immigration, this is the obstacle for everything else they’re trying to do. And you’ll hear that like, people will try to implement a new government program around something and then they’ll say, but no one could find childcare. They know that. So I just wanted to throw in there that like there are more people in the room who are willing to engage on this issue, not as like a girl to show.

Gloria Riviera  26:13

It makes me remember how President Biden in his own State of the Union mention the word childcare and several people who are very smart and have studied childcare and early education pointed to that as oh, my goodness, how long has it been since the President said the word childcare in a State of the Union address? But now, sir, what you’re saying is Raphael Warnock who just narrowly beat Herschel Walker in Georgia. He knows the issue. He knows the issue. He’s smart on the issue, he gives good answers that resonate with someone like you who knows everything about the issue that is important and very, very hopeful. It’s not just saying it’s important, we love kids, we’ve got to do better.

Lauren Kennedy  26:49

Yeah, like I said, bring it back to the States is also here in Massachusetts, and many other places. We have new governors coming in. We have new administration’s. And there’s huge opportunity to use what already exists in an administration or governor coming in and just like the president, what are you going to do in your first 100 days, when you are being plotted and allotted by everybody around you what is going to be your main agenda item, or your top three and make them put childcare at the top of that list. So that when they step out and give their inauguration speech, or when they write do their first big statement in front of a state legislature, they are talking about child care, the way that President Biden used his platform to do the same thing. And there’s, there’s a lot that states can do. It’s the it’s sort of the nitty gritty, it’s the less sexy, less exciting stuff. But we are seeing states start to move in a direction that will directly improve how much money goes into child care. So one example of that is right now, the Federal Child Care Development Block Grant is what provides money to states to be able to offer childcare subsidies. Right now, the way that the cost of a subsidy is calculated means that for providers, you take a financial loss by enrolling a child who comes to you on a CCDBG subsidy, that is why we don’t have enough providers to care for the kids who are holding on right to one of these subsidies, looking for care solutions, providers are saying we can’t afford to enroll you because the cost of the subsidy is way lower than what it costs us to provide care. And that’s on wages for educators that are at minimum wage, we have to be able to get to a cost of care to a subsidy level that when you put in the hands of providers, they say great, maybe it’s not everything, but it’s closer. And now I can offer more seats to lower income families coming in, on child care subsidies. So we’re seeing trends towards that in a number of different states. Let’s get really specific both about what we want to see and legislation, how we want to follow the money. And also what we want to see different departments and agencies here in Massachusetts, it’s the Department of Early Education and Care. Here’s what we expect out of you.

Gloria Riviera  29:23

It makes me think that people really struggle with these small businesses. They are women run often small businesses and they need to have a balanced budget. And it reminds me of our friend Camille Bennett in Alabama, who won during season two, the right in her state to budget not based on attendance, but based on enrollment subsidy kids on subsidies, kids whose families are getting help to pay the cost of childcare. Some of these providers some of these facilities would be paid if they showed up and during COVID Obviously that that was revealed to be a In an incredibly faulty strategy, so we are seeing changes take place that make things better for these small business owners. Right. And that’s huge.

Sarah Muncey  30:12

And one of the easiest things I mean, you know, like no one is coming to save us is like our first rule, the idea that no one is coming to save us means like, let’s make stuff, let’s do stuff, let’s fix stuff, let’s say that you realize that homeless families in Massachusetts have to identify an open slot that they want before they can call and get free childcare so that they can then have their year of stabilization to get not homeless. What is that, we can fix that in two seconds. And that’s the kind of thing that people are starting to fix are all these little obstacles. So yes, we can fix those. Because no one’s coming to save us, you just have to raise your hand, and you need to say, this doesn’t work for my families. And then you’ll see that people change that. But to change it, you need a department, and a lot of states are just starting to establish a Department of Early Education and Care. That is huge. That’s what we need to be doing right now. And like, I want to build back better to pass. So I’m not saying that I’m happy that it didn’t. But the silver lining is that actually we need these departments by the time build back better, because we need somewhere that all of this stuff in this new delivery system lives where your teacher training lives, where all of your subsidy information lives where you’re, you know, how am I getting licensed as a teacher, it needs a place to go. There’s so much energy and Maryland and New Mexico and DC, in Pennsylvania, in Georgia, there’s all these like incredible things going on, all of them add up to a child care system, there’s not that much left to invent, we just need to show that it’s possible. And then the third rule is the most hopeful, as depressing as it sounds, that we’re not magicians that like that, because that’s where you start feeling stuck like you did from season two is when you don’t remember that we’re not saying you have to do it without money. Because we need public funding, but we’ve got to do the it’s not rocket science part and show what it looks like. And people are doing that. And then I think the final part is we don’t need a land grant in every state to pay for this. We are paying for it over and over and over again. We’re paying for it every year of a child’s life. We’re paying for it, mom’s paying for it, that you’re paying for it with that section eight voucher that you wouldn’t need. If she had childcare, you’re paying for it with the SNAP benefits she wouldn’t need. If she had childcare, you’re paying with the last lack of taxes that you’re getting from her income. You’re paying for it in repeated grades. We pay for this; we’re trying to measure out at neighborhood villages. You know what, what these numbers look like in a really interesting way. But don’t let anyone tell you ask you where the money comes from? Because they’re already spending it. They’re just setting it on fire.

Gloria Riviera  32:59

Yeah. Oh, God, I love that. I love that. I love that analogy. And sir, I have to tell you, like when you’re talking about getting things like we need to get our ducks in a row. So we can be like New Mexico, and have it ready to roll and have everything under one roof so that when we have the funding, we are ready to hit that green light and be off to the races. Lauren, what were you gonna say?

Lauren Kennedy  33:20

Oh, I was just gonna say we are paying for it over and over again. And we should feel empowered to go grab some of the money that might be flowing from places that otherwise early education and care advocates might not have felt comfortable raising their hands and saying, what’s my cut of that package that’s coming through. So for example, here in Massachusetts, on our ballot was something called the Fair Share amendment that passed, which is, you know, for families with incomes over a certain amount, they’re going to experience a tax increase, and that those tax dollars are earmarked for education, and transportation. So it’s on us to say great, education includes early education, it might not be pretty as the sort of, you know, internal relationships and trust building and all of it encourage people to define education broader than they might otherwise, you know, have before, but that’s going to be significant money coming into the state under the banner of education. So what are we asking for with respect to the share of the fair share amendment that that goes to early education and care and if there was probably a lot of different examples like that, and in states I mean, while we are already paying for it through our lack of investment is also let’s get smart on the money and see where some of these new revenue sources are coming from and demand our fair share of it.

Gloria Riviera  34:55

I love talking to you both and I can’t believe that we are out of time. him. The reality is we can always get together and have this chat. But I want our listeners to know something from me personally. YouTube brought this project to Lemonada Media, Lemonada Media listened. And I go back to that first connection because I imagine that you felt seen and you felt like the issue of childcare, the childcare crisis in this country was seen by Lemonada. And now here we are two years later. You are both such a dynamic duo. I love the combination. I mean, Sarah, I was like, oh, god, she’s gonna cry again. She cried in the first episode, she’s gonna cry, she’s about to cry. And then Lauren, you know, comes in with the detail, you know, financial plan of attack.

Sarah Muncey  35:39

You’re like Lauren’s […] never change.

Gloria Riviera  35:44

But I need you both. As someone who this was not a passion of mine, this was not an issue that I was invested in, in any way, shape, or form. And now I am very much in the fight. And I think that that’s pretty helpful, too. If people like me who care about issues that affect people, if this has become something that I expect to carry with me, this fight for my entire life, you know, soldier, by soldier will get this done. And you guys, we’re the generals on the field waiting to meet us. So I thank you both so much. I mean, I just I love you both so much. And I’m so grateful for the work that you do now. It makes me choked up. I’m not going to cry. I’m going to close this episode out before we do. But I will ask you both Sarah, you can go first, a little a little glimpse into the future. What are you excited about in season three?

Sarah Muncey  36:39

In season three, I’m so excited to start drilling down on the specific issues around the country getting out to specific places and starting to look at childcare with this very localized lens. I think it’s going to take zooming in and zooming out and zooming in and zooming out for all of us to figure out what all these pieces are, what all the issues are to understand what it looks like in different states and parts of states. So that’s what’s really exciting to me is to start to really get a local on the ground view in different parts of the country, about how this is presenting.

Lauren Kennedy  37:21

I’m really excited to get to the stories to get to the families navigating childcare, to get to the local officials who are figuring out what can we do with what we have to meet the needs of families, to the state officials saying all right, my constituent just walked into my office with their baby, the baby was screaming, and she handed over the baby to me because she said this baby is your problem right now because I don’t have childcare. So what am I gonna do? And then it was there I was saying the zoom in is we hear that story. The zoom out is we probably won’t be surprised if the story that we hear in this community in this state is similar to the story that we hear in that community in that state. And so we move it from the me, to the us and to the broader us. And now how do we all stand together? And all show up into that person’s office and hand over four babies and say I’ll see you in two hours. I’m gonna go take a mental health break.

Gloria Riviera  38:31

And by the way, it’s not their naptime. They just woke.

Lauren Kennedy  38:37

Squeeze it before they put it in their mouth and Abbott Yeah, all over your nice suit. But you don’t have a change of clothes because you weren’t expecting to have a baby with you at work.

Sarah Muncey  38:47

And we just want to thank you as well for coming into this movement with so much passion and humility and like I’ve learned so much about child care from the way that you ask people questions and the answers you get out of people and the stories you’re able to uncover. So it’s really been so inspiring to watch you. Guide folks through this issue. So thank you for giving everyone an on ramp to the childcare movement.

Gloria Riviera  39:19

My absolute honor, it’s really been my honor. Thank you both Sarah Muncey, Lauren Kennedy for the work that you do for the work that we all, Lemonada and Neighborhood Villages will continue to do with no one is coming to save us.  Thank you so much to Lauren and Sarah. You have been my incredible B onwards partners on this show. We are now two years in, can you guys believe it? This has been an incredible season following the news, your stories and the work of so many to bring change to communities. And we have some news, we are excited to announce that we are coming back for a third season in the new year. And guess what? As part of that season, we will be going into communities to hold live recordings and conversations with you. Yes, you can come, you better come. We will be on the ground talking about what’s really happening with childcare across the country. So let us know. Do you want us to come to where you live? Is something big happening in your community? Are you facing unique challenges? We want to know everything. You can email me at gloria@lemonadamedia.com. I cannot wait to hear from all of you. As my daughter would say I’m nervous sighted. I am nervous because it is one thing to sit in the comfort of my own home at my own desk and talk to people about it. It’s another thing to be in a room with you. Look you in the eye hear about your stories, your struggles and your stress directly from you. I’m warning you now there will be tears from me at least maybe from you too. In the meantime, the production team and I will be busy plotting and planning with Neighborhood Villages and Lemonada, we’ll be taking a break from weekly shows to roll up our sleeves and plan for the next phase of no one is coming to save us. I’m also excited that’s excited part of nervous I didn’t because I know that if no one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves and coming together will absolutely empower us to do so. Thank you all for an incredible year and I will see you in person in 2023.

CREDITS  41:52

NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US is a Lemonada Media original presented by and created with Neighborhood Villages. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Alex McOwen. Veronica Rodriguez is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me Gloria Riviera. If you like the show, and you believe what we’re doing is important. Please help others find us by leaving us a rating and writing us a review. Do you have your own experiences and frustrations with the childcare system? Do you have ideas for what we could do to make it better? Join the No One Is Coming To Save Us Facebook group where we can continue the conversation together. You can also follow us and other Lemonada podcasts at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms. Thank you so much for listening. We will be back next week. Until then hang in there. You can do it.

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