Milk Party Tour For Children Makes Stops In Tampa Bay Region

Who knew milk and cookies could have such an impact?

The Children's Movement of Florida, a nonpolitical advocacy group that champions positive change for Florida's children, began a series of Milk Party Tours on Labor Day in Pensacola. The tours, ending in Key West on Sept. 30, are designed to call attention to the top five issues impacting children today: access to health insurance and quality healthcare; screening and treatment for special needs; quality of pre-kindergarten opportunities; high quality mentoring programs; and support and information for parents skill-building.

"The folks who are leading the Milk Party Tours, David Lawrence, Jr. and others, have been researching this for the past 20 months," says Martin Merzer, communications director and spokesperson for the Children's Movement of Florida. "For the last 10 years David has been truly one of the leading children's advocates around the country. He created Children's Trust in Miami-Dade and was active in many other children's advocacy programs in the state, and the team has been researching [information for the Milk Party Tours] for 20 months with meetings, surveys and raising money."

There will be 15 tour stops around the state. The tour will come to Tampa, Sept. 16; Lakeland, Sept. 17; St. Petersburg, Sept. 20; and Sarasota and Bradenton, Sept. 21.

Each Milk Party is expected to be as different as the local steering committees that managed the tour process. Entertainment, activities and speakers will vary by location, however, Lawrence and a few core advocates will be present at each Milk Party.

The Children's Movement of Florida doesn't endorse political candidates and raises its own funds from foundations and private contributors. The statewide steering committee, which acts as the board of directors, includes 12 Republicans, 12 Democrats and 3 Independents.

"The simple message is: Children should become a higher priority when state leaders allocate existing funds," says Merzer.

The Milk Party Tours are open to any and everyone. Of course, healthy cookies and 2% milk will be served.

Writer: Nancy Vaughn
Source: Martin Merzer, Children's Movement of Florida
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