Member Stories: Doing What We Already Do … and Just a
Little More: In the U.S., we have a growing number of
individual members, as well as informal group members
and student group members. Each in our own way, we are
child advocates and activists. We ask individuals and
groups to share information about what they are doing.
* From January to May 2010, OMEP-USA member Jerry
Aldridge was a senior consultant for the Indonesia
Heritage Foundation (IHF), where he provided
professional development for teachers and evaluated the
national curriculum of the program. The IHF supports
teacher and curriculum development for over 1000 low
income preschools throughout Indonesia. He also taught
classes in human ecology and parent development at a
* As part of OMEP-USA’s Jamaica Project, Carol Darcy,
Anne O’Neil, and Claudia Williams provided teacher
education programs in Jamaica. OMEP members have also
contributed books on child development and early
education to build a collection of professional
materials for a new early childhood program at MICO
University. Kallia Wade, president of OMEP-Whittier
College, distributed donated children’s books to a
Jamaican preschool when she went home for vacation.
* Judith McConnell-Farmer, OMEP-USA’s Region V
Representative, and her students in University of
Washburn’s OMEP chapter volunteered at an orphanage in
* Sondra Cutcliffe and members of her informal
OMEP group in Kansas gave money to a local homeless
shelter serving children and families in lieu of giving
one another holiday gifts.
* Suzanne Krogh has been teaching at the Busan
National University of Education in Korea, where she
promotes the World OMEP Declaration on Play by having
her students learn about the value of play for learning
and social development. (Information on the Declaration
on Play can be found at
* Alba Di Bello, an OMEP-USA member from New
Jersey has been studying ways to engage children,
parents, and teachers in healthy discussions of death.
She points out that, especially in areas of conflict,
children need great support for “understanding the
unique and personal journey of loss and strategies for
responding to that loss in personal ways.”
* John Surr, OMEP-USA’s Washington, D.C. Liaison,
volunteers in a child care center two mornings a week
and spends the rest of his time working to strengthen
public policies aimed at peace-building, sustainability,
and children’s rights.
* Diane Levin led students from Wheelock College
to Belfast, Northern Ireland to study first hand how
early childhood programs promote healing among children
affected by conflict. They also learned about peace
education processes underway in Belfast schools. Diane
also writes extensively about early sexualization of
girls and about the effects of excessive consumerism
among children. Watch for her on the Today Show or other
programs, where she helps bring our issues to the
attention of the general public.
* Milly Cowles coordinated the preparation of a
historical document about The Southern Early Childhood
Association (SECA) from 1990-2010. She recently
completed 10 years of service as Head of a Post-Graduate
Leadership Institute for K-12 Principals in the First
congressional District of Alabama funded by the Smith
* Cheryl French and her colleagues at the Child
Development Institute at Sarah Lawrence College have
been seriously working to promote an understanding of
the value of play in learning. Many more details about
their work appear on the OMEP-USA website. Information
about OMEP’s Declaration on Play can be found at
* As part of the Region III, Edna Ranck, OMEP-USA’s
Immediate Past President, helped start-up activities
leading to the establishment of a Department of Early
Care and Education in Liberia in West Africa.
* Members of OMEP-Whittier College helped
children at Broadoaks, the college lab school, knit caps
for a pediatric hospital in Malawi and for children
undergoing chemotherapy in local hospitals. students in
this chapter have also raised funds for Haiti and Japan
after their earthquakes and for a variety of other
causes. These college students also helped to found the
first children's chapter of OMEP, OMEP-Broadoaks.
* New OMEP-USA member Priya Punitar just returned
from working with women’s microfinance groups in
* World President Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson; Carol
Darcy, World OMEP’s senior liaison at the United
Nations; and OMEP-USA President Judith Wagner met
with officials at UNICEF, attended a seminar on Early
Childhood policies in Rwanda, and participated in a
conference on teaching about the U.N. Millennium goals.
Many other OMEP members were present at the conference.
* Many OMEP members are childhood researchers who have
presented their work at local, state, national and
international meetings, always with a view toward
disseminating information that will improve children’s
lives at home and abroad. Information about OMEP
members’ publications and presentations will soon appear
on our website at
2012 has been an eventful year for Keyona Forbes, OMEP’s former youth representative to UN/UNICEF. From January- June, she served as a human rights intern in the Gender and Rights Unit at UNICEF. She conducted analysis of research on the rights of indigenous children for the upcoming Resolution on the Rights of the Child. She also a practicum with EngenderHealth, where she and her team completed a qualitative analysis of a quality improvement tool used in Tanzanian health facilities. During the summer worked as a clerkship assistant at Columbia Law School. In fall 2012 she will begin her last semester at the New School's Graduate program in International Affairs, so she is searching for career opportunities abroad.
OMEP-Whittier College members, Dylan Zukowski, Lucie Zahradnickova, and Brianne Kamaladin (president 2012-2013), were official observers at the OMEP World Assembly in Campo Grande in Brazil. They also presented a research poster during the symposium that followed the WA. All three of them are already saving to attend the 2013 world meetings in Shanghai.
Valene Martinez and Leah Bunch helped members of OMEP-Whittier College and children at The Broadoaks School of Whittier College organize the Second Annual Jog-a-Thon to raise funds for OMEP disaster relief projects and for a variety of other child advocacy projects. They raised $14,000, some of which will be reserved for future OMEP relief projects, and the rest of which went to children’s charities selected by the children and the college students. For example, they provided funds for reconstructive surgeries for two children in Latin America with cleft palates.