Kathy Ryg remembers how tough it was raising four
kids as a working single mom even though she had lots of help and
access to good child care and schools. She's in a position now to
know how tough it is for parents without that support-and do
something about it. All of her energy is focused on Illinois' kids,
making sure they have the best opportunities even before they are
Ryg, 58, of Vernon Hills, is "the voice" behind Voices for
Illinois Children, a statewide policy and advocacy organization
that works to keep policy makers' attention riveted on kids and
their future. "I'm such a fan of kids. I'm so passionate about kids
having every opportunity to be successful," she says.
She's seen her share of "heart-breaking" living conditions
and too many families struggling. There are real kids behind sad
black and white statistics such as those that show by 2012 one out
of every five Illinois children will be living in poverty. "Kids
are really the voiceless victims in those situations because the
statistics don't really talk about what it means to kids," she
says. "We have to support those children and be their
Home visits, quality child care and education and
after-school activities, along with a focus on kids' development
are all among priorities that need attention and financial
commitment even in times of scarce state dollars, she
"We do know the right things to do; we know what works. We
have to continue to pay attention and I think we always have to ask
ourselves, how are the children and then work to ensure that the
answer is that they are always doing great," she says.
Ryg says she believes there is reason to hope for all of
Illinois' kids. "It's so doable."
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.
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