Getting Started: What Is Going On in Your State?

Do any of the items below describe you?

  • You don’t know whether there is an educational choice program in your state or city.
  • There is no program, and you are starting from scratch.
  • There is a program, but not enough people qualify to use it – or know that it exists.
  • Your child is being bullied at their public school and needs a way out now.
  • You just lost your job and you need to find a way to pay for your child’s private school.
  • The public school that serves your family is failing, and you know your children aren’t learning like they should.
  • The public school you’ve been assigned is not meeting in person, and you have to go to work – staying in that school would mean leaving your children alone.
  • There is a program, but you’ve researched it and your child doesn’t qualify because the requirements are too narrow.
  • You have talked to your legislator and are trying to convince him or her to introduce a bill.
  • A bill sponsor has reached out to you with an idea for a program and wants your support.

No matter where you are, the biggest key to victory is this: You might be outnumbered, but when you stand with others and share your family’s experience searching for a quality education and a brighter future for your children, it is harder for politicians to ignore your concerns. That’s what Virginia Walden Ford realized when she first started working to get a scholarship program in Washington, D.C. Her representatives weren’t listening – and in order to get their attention, she realized she needed backup.

Like Virginia, you’ll need the help of other parents, both in your community and around the state, to bring about significant educational reform and make legislators listen. That’s what grassroots organizing is all about.

Grassroots organizing will come with many challenges, and you’ll face setbacks, disappointments, or just everyday frustrations as you work to bring together busy families under a common cause. Getting through all of this will be possible if you remember why you’re doing it to begin with. Grassroots organizing is a powerful agent for change, and by bringing together a group of people who are united in pursuit of a clear mission, you can make legislators listen to what your family needs. Individually, it is near impossible to make a legislature or Congress listen, but together, we cannot be ignored.

Have questions or need assistance? We are here to help! Contact us at activism@ij.org. 

Keys To Effective Organizing

Over the years, IJ has worked alongside activists on hundreds of efforts large and small, with groups of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the mission will be accomplished after just a few months or less – other times, it takes years to make progress, and your parent network may need to weather challenges along the way.

But no matter what your fight ends up looking like, we have developed Five Keys to Effective Organizing that will put your group on the path to success and keep it strong even through difficult times. It’s worth reviewing them before you start to recruit others, but also keeping them handy as you go along.

Maintain a clear mission.
What is your goal with this network? Write it down at the beginning of your efforts and refer to it frequently to make sure you are staying focused. Different issues may arise over the course of your fight, but don’t let them distract you from your mission. You will lose credibility and may forfeit your position as an expert on your issue if your group starts speaking out about different issues. Children’s health care issues might be an important political issue in your state, for example, but they are separate from your mission.

Keep engagement ongoing.
Legislative change takes time and commitment, and in order to be successful you need to keep your core members engaged and dedicated to the cause. That means a group of people should be helping with recruitment efforts, attending group meetings and public hearings, and participating in important events as they arise. You should continually engage your broader group, because the side with the most commitment to the most genuine, beneficial, and impactful goal can win, even if outnumbered. The more parent stories and perspectives you have, the more you can fight back against the opposition. You can drown out the misinformation and make sure policymakers are listening to you as a constituent. But be mindful of the balance between engagement and burnout. Listen to your own needs and your members’ needs.

Stay on message.
You want your group to speak with one, powerful voice and stick to a clear message that the public and policymakers will understand. This goes for all members of your group. Every divergent voice weakens the volume of your collective voice. For example, if one member meets with a legislator and tells him or her that the problem will be solved with more funding for public schools, this weakens your fight for private educational choice, because this fight goes beyond funding the system to changing it and allowing parents to choose a school that works for their family, whether or not it is their assigned public school. You should all be on the same page when it comes to your common cause.

Show goodwill to all involved.
This means your core members, your supporters, the powers-that-be, and even your opponents. Those who oppose you think that what they’re doing is right for your city or state – they may think they are protecting public education. Do your research, be prepared to combat misinformation, but don’t presume everyone is out to get you. With your own members, work together and appreciate the unique contributions each person is able to make. There will be some parents who may not have the time, resources, or interest to fight. Some will allow or want you to do all the heavy lifting – then benefit from the result. You have to accept this and move on, because everyone is going to bring something different to the table. Working in good faith will help accomplish important things.

Be dedicated and determined.
There will be setbacks along the way, but that’s okay! Nothing worth fighting for comes easily, so you will have to remember not to be dismayed and discouraged in tough times. Don’t let your opposition bully you into accepting an educational system that doesn’t work for your family. You can fight, and you can win.

Have questions or need assistance? We are here to help! Contact us at activism@ij.org. 

Five Keys to Effective Organizing

  1. Maintain a clear mission
  2. Keep engagement ongoing
  3. Stay on message
  4. Show goodwill to all involved
  5. Be dedicated and determined

Reviving an Existing Group or Joining With Others

You might be trying to build a parent group from scratch, or your state might already have a parent network, or small groups around the state that care about educational choice just aren’t connected with each other. If you’re working with others, here are a few tips and tricks to being successful.

First, it helps to know who’s out there and already organizing. You can start by searching Facebook groups in your state for education-related terms. It is also a good idea to look at recent news articles about educational choice around the state – if they give a quote from parents who support the program, see if you can connect with those parents! You can also talk to IJ and any state-based partners that you’re working with. If there are parents organizing for choices in your state, chances are that someone knows about them already.

Once you connect with other groups in your state, talk to them and listen to what they’ve been doing already. What works for them, and what hasn’t been so successful? You might be able to learn important lessons from their experiences and avoid wasting time. Depending on the size of the group that already exists and how much material they have already created, such as t-shirts and a website, it might make sense to join up with their group, as long as you agree with what they’re advocating for. Or, you can talk with leaders about creating a new name for all of your groups to join or partner with, so that when you show up at the state capitol, you can all be wearing the same t-shirts and speaking on behalf of the same network. Remember, there is strength in numbers!

Another situation you might run into is when there is already a parent network in the state, but it’s not active. Is there a way to revive a stagnant group that has gotten discouraged when a program didn’t pass, or just burned out in the fight? Of course!

First, you have to find the group’s members, if you can. Just knowing that a group exists is a big help, because you can search their name and gather any old Facebook groups, websites, or news articles about them. Usually, you’ll be able to find names of leaders right there, and hopefully they’ll have included contact information you can easily find. If not, IJ or other partners might be able to help.

Once you connect with former leaders, remember these tips:

  • Be high-energy! People will get excited if you are excited.
  • Explain how this attempt is different. If this group has rallied for past attempts to create a program that didn’t succeed, you need to be clear about what’s new. What were the challenges faced by the previous attempt, and how will you address those? What are you bringing to the table that this group has not seen before? What are your goals and how do you plan to succeed?
  • Do a formal re-launch. This will give you opportunities to hold new community meetings, keep up engagement, and try to recruit new activists with fresh voices and ideas that will inspire the coalition.
  • Seek a respected community member to rally on your behalf. Is there a particularly influential person that you can identify as an ally that will be able to inspire your group? Try to work with people who can bring a crowd all by themselves to complement your existing work.

Do you have to work with existing groups or revive old groups? Not necessarily. For a variety of reasons, you might choose to set out recruiting parents and building your group from scratch. Maybe the members of the old group all moved out of the state, or maybe the other parent groups that exist disagree with you on the type of educational choice program you want to pass. You can decide to work alongside groups but not formally partner with them, or just do your own thing. The most important goal, though, is to put in a good-faith effort to know about other people who are out there working on similar issues, and do your best to work alongside them if you can.

Have questions or need assistance? We are here to help! Contact us at activism@ij.org. 

Starting To Recruit – Finding Allies and Building a Network of Supporters

One dedicated parent can make a huge difference, but you should not try to tackle this fight alone. Creating an educational choice program is hard work; it requires a lot of time, dedication, and resources. It can become overwhelming without a network of people around you to help.

It’s important to organize in advance of when your state legislature starts meeting for the year, so you have plenty of time to grow your network, strategize, and mobilize for action. Your biggest supporters are those who are most directly affected and have the most to lose: The parents and guardians of children who are suffering by not having good educational opportunities.

Perhaps you already know several parents from around the neighborhood or through your children’s friends – start there! Reach out to friends and neighbors, and make sure to get their contact information and ask for the best way to stay in touch. From the very earliest days, it’s important to keep a master list of every single person you meet, regardless of how much they can be involved, because there are many things both big and small that you’ll need help with, and you don’t want to forget anyone who might be interested.

Here’s an example of what that list might look like. You can always use Microsoft Word or another word processing program to keep track of the people you recruit at first, but it’s better to move the names into Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets so that you can more easily track and organize your list as it gets bigger.

NameEmailPhone #Children’s Names/GradesLast Event Attended
Jada SmithJsmith@hotmail.com888-888-888Marcus (6th grade);
Jasmine (2nd grade)
August 1 “get to know you” group dinner
John RobinsonRobinson@gmail.com222-222-2222Sam (kindergarten)Hasn’t attended any events yet

You should not rush through or discount starting early with friends and family. After all, you might already know the core members of your group. But what if you’ve already talked with all the people you know – and they just aren’t interested? Below, we have listed a few ways and places to recruit other parents to your cause.

How many people do you need to sign up? That depends on many factors that you will figure out as you go, but remember that not everyone who signs up will become active in your group, so you need to sign up more people than you think you need.  Ideally, you will have several dozen parents and guardians able to make calls and visit the capitol (if that’s a safe option).

One important note: Before you start reaching out to strangers about your campaign, be prepared with:

  • a clear mission,
  • some basic information you can hand to people,
  • a signup sheet so you can quickly grab contact information from everyone who is interested, and
  • something in mind that people can help with if they ask on the spot – maybe some flyers to give them to distribute, or a date for your next meeting that you can ask them to attend.

A good conversation might go like this:

You: “Hi! Are you interested in joining Parents for Opportunity?”
Stranger: “What’s this all about?”
You: “We’re a group of parents trying to pass a scholarship program in our state! You can read more about it on this flyer. Would you be interested in signing up to learn more or join us?”

Remember that the “colder” the conversation (that is, the less personal connection you have going in), the less time you’ll have to get your message across. Be prepared with a quick explanation of who you are, what you’re doing, and what you want – in 30 seconds or less. Of course, you might have more time, and you should be prepared for longer conversations – but never depend on having that chance. These types of short conversations are often called “elevator pitches.” What would you say if you had only a few moments in an elevator to make your case to a stranger?

Recruitment ideas

Sometimes you might not have time to talk with people – but even if you do, it helps to have a flyer to hand everyone so that they can learn more and contact you. IJ can send you examples of flyers for different events! As you work through the list below, remember that you don’t have to start from scratch and plan your own event to create an opportunity. Be creative and take every opportunity to partner with or piggyback on to an existing event. As with all the advice in this guide, make sure to choose the ideas that work for you and your community and always take all necessary precautions in light of the pandemic.

  • Start with your neighborhood, friends, and family
    • Go door-to-door in your neighborhood
    • Talk with your children’s friends’ parents and family friends
    • Host a block party or neighborhood get-together
    • Attend neighborhood association meetings
    • Ask your church leader if you can share flyers with your congregation
    • Attend your school’s extracurricular activities such as football, soccer, baseball, gymnastics, swim team, etc., and talk to other parents. Make sure you always have flyers and a way to sign up!
    • If your children attend a private school, ask to set up a table at drop-off and pickup to sign up other parents
    • Attend and bring flyers to Parent Teacher Association meetings – if appropriate, ask to speak about your group
    • Partner with school fundraisers and open houses
  • Move on to communities where you are likely to find a lot of support for the cause
    • Partner with scholarship organizations to reach out to new members
    • Attend any local events you can where parents are organizing for education-related issues, such as school safety or special needs
    • Attend school board meetings and other education-related public forums
    • Reach out to families who have created support group or “learning pods” to teach their children
    • Go door-to-door in neighborhoods where schools are struggling and you know parents will want better options
    • Reach out to families who have created support groups or “learning pods” to teach their children at home
    • Connect with juvenile offender programs – when appropriate – and meet parents who urgently need better options
    • Reach out to special needs support groups, with parents whose children need special education services
  • Don’t forget the general public!
    • Hand out flyers outside metro and bus stations and other public transit hubs
    • Flyer outside school bus routes
    • Connect with community or recreational centers like the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs
    • Attend seasonal festivals and events with flyers to give out
    • Flyer at your local or county fair
    • Flyer at libraries and community centers – these are also great event spaces because they’re free or low-cost
    • Connect with school after-care programs
    • Flyer at parks, playgrounds, and the “hot spot” of your town – like a trampoline park or family amusement center. Always make sure to go with your children, and talk with parents, not children!
    • Go to coffee shops and ask if you can put your flyer on shared bulletin boards
    • Connect with children’s uniform shops and other school-supply-related businesses
    • Go to sign up people outside malls and shopping centers with big-box stores like Walmart and Costco

Remember that you don’t have to try all of the ideas on this list – and there might be ideas that we haven’t even thought of, but you come up with as you build your coalition of parents. The main goal is to be creative and determined as you build your list of parents who will fight alongside each other to get more educational options for their families.  

You should also keep in mind that each location you recruit at will be different, with different rules and expected behavior. Taking flyers and clipboards out to a community fair and giving strangers your “elevator pitch” – loudly enough so they can hear you in the crowd – is a great idea. Doing the same thing in a quiet church lobby is a bad plan. Use your best judgment for each case; if you can, ask someone affiliated with the event or location about what is appropriate. Especially after the pandemic, it is important to respect people’s personal space and avoid making people feel uncomfortable! 

It’s possible that some big public events or locations will still ask you to leave or to go to a specific area – and that’s okay! Always politely and quickly follow any requests like these. Remember that the way you act doesn’t just represent you – it represents the cause you’re fighting for. Being polite and representing the cause of educational choice well is always important. 

Have questions or need assistance? We are here to help! Contact us at activism@ij.org. 

Getting Together and Building Community

Once you have developed a list of parents to invite, schedule a meeting with them. IJ is happy to participate via video, or in-person if you are comfortable with us joining and it is safe to do so at that time.

The legislative process can be agonizingly slow or surprisingly fast. You want to get your team in order as soon as possible so you’re ready to go when you need to.

Meeting remotely to organize statewide

As the 2020 pandemic taught us, sometimes in-person organizing just isn’t possible. Here at IJ, we quickly realized that things like rallies, door-to-door signups, informational meetings, capitol rallies, and lobbying visits were off the table, at least for a while. Your in-person organizing options are also probably going to be more limited than they were before the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean organizing for educational choice has to stop! In fact, as we discussed in the introduction, parents are seeing how important it is to have educational choices for their children. If anything, a post-pandemic world calls for more organizing, not less.

This means that organizing online takes on even more importance than it did pre-pandemic. You can take advantage of this time to learn valuable new tools that can help out with all sorts of challenges that make it harder to meet in person – maybe you live far away from other members, or maybe some of you can’t get off work. Becoming pros at remote organizing will help out then just as it does during a pandemic.

Sometimes you will need to organize in different areas around the state. Passing a program usually happens in the state legislature, which means that your coalition will need to be from more than just your community. Even if families are local, everyday conflicts of overburdened schedules can make attending a meeting in person a big challenge. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything at once – sometimes, having a meeting remotely is the best option no matter where your activists are coming from.

Make sure to connect with families who might not have access to computers or strong internet connections, even if you’re meeting remotely! That might mean checking in regularly via phone calls. Zoom meetings provide you a phone number that people can use to dial in; make sure you give all of your members that number before meetings so that people with internet challenges can still join you!

There are many tools that can help you organize and recruit people from a distance. You can use services like these to video chat with people in other parts of the state if you aren’t able to travel and hold meetings in person.

Google Meet works through something many people have – a Gmail account! You can get started by going to meet.google.com and choose to schedule a meeting in your calendar, start one instantly, or share a unique “meeting link” that people can join. Once you join a meeting, you will be on video with anyone else who has clicked on the link.

Skype and Zoom work in a similar way, but they require you to download a free program to have on your computer. When you click your meeting link, your program will open and put you into the “virtual meeting.”

Sometimes, activists won’t have a computer available – or even access to high-speed internet. All of these programs have a mobile version that people can use on their phones, but if WiFi is too slow for video to work well, the best option is to dial the number and password that will be generated when you set up the meeting. It’s a good idea to share that with everyone before your meeting starts, so that anyone whose internet stops working can quickly pick up the phone and join back in.

Meeting in person

One day, you will be able to meet in person again. And being prepared to have productive, successful meetings is key. If you are able to meet in person, you should try to pick the most convenient location you can and try to hold your meetings at a convenient time for your new members. In our experience, the best time is on the weekend, or during the week after work hours if parents can bring their children and the meeting is brief. If your child is currently in a private school and your school supports the idea of a scholarship program, you might also host your meeting at your child’s school, right before or after student drop-off or pick-up, but remember that this option will leave you a lot less time to talk with people who may only have a few minutes to spare at the beginning or end of a busy day. If your meeting has to be set during a time that children are with their parents, try to accommodate their needs as much as you can, like providing coloring books or games kids can play so parents can focus.

Your first meeting is important, but it doesn’t have to cost money! You should be able to find a free location, such as a room at a library, community center, or a house of worship. If you need help finding a location, reach out to IJ – we might be able to help, or even provide snacks and materials for distribution.

Once you have picked a time and place for your meeting, you will need to create an invitation with details about this first meeting and distribute it to (1) everyone who you have identified or signed up, (2) any other members of the public who might be interested, and (3) representatives from local organizations who might be interested in attending.

The invitation can be physical, electronic, or both. You can see some examples at the end of this guide. An electronic form is the cheapest option, and you’ll be able to send it to many people at the same time through text message and email. A print invitation is good to hand out to people as you meet them and to leave in small stacks at community spaces. Whichever you choose, distribute the flyer with enough time for people to make plans to attend your meeting but not so early that people forget about it. A little more than a week in advance usually does the trick.

It is also important to keep reminding people as the event approaches. It is especially helpful to call or text reminders to everyone the day before the meeting. The parents you identified want better for their children and will be excited to hear from you. Don’t be shy!

During your first meeting, you will introduce the members of your group to each other and to your shared cause. You will also start to decide on a plan for action, so make sure to prepare for it in advance. Put together an agenda for your meeting and stick to it. Keep it short – accomplish your goals in under an hour, and that will free up any remaining time for parents to get to know one another. Stick to the point, so you do not lose people’s interest. Parents are more likely to come to future meetings if they are run well and you are considerate of their time.

Offer snacks if possible, and make sure to advertise this on your flyer. Never underestimate the power of food!

Finally, make sure you are prepared to get contact information from everyone who attends. This applies whether you’re meeting in person or online. Ask attendees to print their names, best contact information (usually their email and phone number) and, if they are willing, what grades their children are in and why they want an educational choice program. This information will be a critical part of helping get the network kicked off in its early days.

It’s also helpful to ask whether attendees are coming on behalf of an organization or just as a parent who’s interested. Try to find out as much as possible! Talk to attendees about whether they enjoy taking notes, writing, sharing their story publicly, designing flyers, and so forth.

If you’re meeting online, you can use services like Google Forms to ask your attendees to fill out this basic information – or at least, go around the “virtual room” and take notes with everyone’s name and contact information as they introduce themselves.

During your first meeting, you will need to cover what educational choice is and ensure everyone is on the same page with your shared goal. As good as your elevator pitch was, there will probably be at least a handful of parents who are not sure what this is all about, and maybe even someone who disagrees with you. Don’t worry too much if that happens! Remember that the goal of your first meeting is to clearly explain what you are focused on, and if a few parents find out they do not want to join with your group, that’s okay!

Once you’ve explained clearly what you want to accomplish, you’ll want to spend most of the time on planning the group’s strategy and assigning tasks. You want to inspire people about your issue, but you have to give them something to do about it, too! Otherwise, people will disengage. It’s okay if people are shy, or not quite sure what they want to do. At the least, you can ask people to talk to their own friends and family about your group. Finally, make sure to establish next steps before you leave! Nobody should leave the meeting without knowing what the next step is.

There are unique challenges that come with organizing statewide. The biggest is finding a central location to host events and get-togethers – after all, everyone thinks their location is “central”! Ultimately, your efforts will focus on your state’s capital city, but in the meantime you can overcome distance with virtual meetings, or you can plan to have leaders around the state organize events in their communities. Remember that you will need people to go to the capitol at some point (with others who are unable to travel making phone calls) if the pandemic allows for this to happen safely, so being creative and trying to figure out solutions for people to come together before then is important.

Another option as your group grows is to have regular polls asking people to pick what time and date works best for them, so that you can have the highest possible number of attendees when you do need to have a meeting.

The final piece of advice is simple, and we can remember it by calling it “The Mister Ed Rule.” Just like the character in the old television show only talked when he had something to say, you should only meet when there is something to meet about.  Parents are busyand having a bunch of meetings that don’t have a clear purpose can cause burnout. Maybe after your first big organizing meeting, you can focus on fun activities and building community until there is another reason you must have a formal meeting (in person or online). Meetings can and do build community, but there are other ways to get to know each other, and you should be creative and always respectful of people’s time.

Building community between meetings through social media

Whether you’re focused at home or working on a statewide network, you should take advantage of online tools to create community.

Often, people assume that only younger people are active online. Facebook in particular, though, is a great resource for reaching out to a broad community because almost 70% of American adults across age groups regularly use it, with 75% of users saying they use it every day.

If you don’t have a Facebook account, signing up is easy! Just go to Facebook.com and click “Create New Account,” then follow the directions to enter in your information. You can choose to put a little information or a lot – but having your smiling face in a profile photo and including your hometown will make it much easier to connect with other activists online.

Facebook has two distinct features that make spreading information and creating an online community very easy. First, a public page will create a way to raise and spread awareness about this issue and act as a forum for disseminating information to the parent activists. Second, a closed “group” will give parents a way to communicate with one another, creating a community and sense of engagement.

Each group and leader will be different, and there’s no perfect formula for using Facebook, but it will help to keep these three tips in mind:

  1. In your group, respond to questions quickly! Facebook favors active groups, and your message response rate matters for keeping your group in people’s news feeds.
  2. Post often on your page. This is important, because Facebook automatically shows your posts to more people if you post more often. More importantly, it is key to remind parents why this issue is important and keep it at the front of their minds. After all, consumers can’t buy products unless they are aware of them – in the same way, people won’t care about an issue they don’t remember.
  3. Assume everything you post can be made public at any point. Although closed groups are set up to allow parents to have honest conversations in a mostly private forum, everyone should know that it’s impossible to guarantee that things being said will stay private. Encourage your members to exercise good will toward opponents even in private, and always follow that standard yourself and set a good example. 

Other activities to build community

Social media is powerful, but it’s not the only way to build community online in between group meetings. Here at IJ, we’ve helped host a variety of community-building events over the years – everything from back-to-school barbecues to movie showings to holiday dinners for parent leaders to meet and get to know each other better.

Amid a pandemic, these sorts of events may not be possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build community! In fact, there are a variety of online events and resources that you can offer to help build personal connections within your group and make it helpful for busy parents.

Here is just a short list of events that you can do virtually to help your members get to know each other better:

  • Resume and Career Coaching
    Especially if a member of your group works in a field like recruiting or HR, you can have a video call about common questions and tips to build a better resume or find a new career. For events like this, you want to make it very clear up front that you are volunteering to help members of your group, not offering a professional service.
  • Volunteer Tutoring and Mentoring
    The above advice applies even more so with this activity, because most parents will be eager to get any help for their children that they can, and you need to make it clear that your group is not offering professional tutoring. But chances are, you have parents or even older students who might want to be connected and help. Maybe you have a high school student who’s a math whiz and can be “on call” to answer questions from younger children in your group. Maybe you do some virtual lessons or connect younger students with mentors.
  • Cooking Classes or Cooking Clubs
    If you or some of your members like to cook, you can find time to cook together over a video call – or maybe teach basic skills to other members or their children! This activity, like the others, can easily become an in-person one when it’s safe.
  • Movie Night
    If it’s safe to do so, movie nights in person can be a great way to recruit new members – and the movie Miss Virginia is perfect! Miss Virginia tells the true story of how Virginia Walden Ford joined with other parents to get a scholarship program passed in Washington, D.C. Her story shows that parents can beat the toughest odds by joining together – and it’s free to watch on Netflix! IJ is happy to help you host a screening followed by an activism training about how to replicate what the real Miss Virginia accomplished in D.C.
  • Book Club
    Your group can pick a book – about anything you want! – and get together on a regular basis to talk about it with other members. This can be a way to get to know other members better along with expanding your own professional skill set, or just reading something you enjoy.
  • Group Dinner Nights
    You can pick a regular time – maybe once a month or every few weeks – when your members get together in your homes via video chat to have dinner together and just catch up on life. When it’s safe to do so, you can switch this activity to someone’s home for a potluck or a local restaurant. It’s hard to fight for educational choice, and you shouldn’t underestimate the value of camaraderie and friendship.

This list gives you some ideas, but the sky is the limit – just remember your main purpose. Your goal is to pass an educational choice program and get more options for your children, and in the process, these events can help you build community and friendships in your group.

Have questions or need assistance? We are here to help! Contact us at activism@ij.org.