Methodists Involved in Interfaith Activism for Children In Georgia
The Interfaith Children's Movement (ICM) is a grassroots, interfaith, advocacy movement dedicated to improving the wellbeing of children in Georgia. ICM, founded in 2001, has created a comprehensive, action-oriented, results approach to its work. Through its Faith in Action program, ICM focuses on eight work areas that affect the well-being of all children: Poverty, Education, Health Care, Juvenile Justice, Child Care/Child Protection, Parental Nurture, Child Advocacy (Public Policy) and Immigration.
Since its inception, ICM has had leadership from the Pan-Methodist family. The chairs of its board have been from the CME, UMC, and AME denominations. And the current Program Coordinator is a UMC layperson. ICM is an example of how the objectives of the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty are fulfilled through interfaith collaboration and community.
ICM educates faith communities, organizations and individuals about the issues that affect Georgia’s children and endeavors to generate the involvement of the collective community across Georgia in seeking fair and just laws and public policies. ICM engages faith communities in providing nurture to children through effective services, such as quality afterschool programs, mentoring, volunteering in child-related efforts, providing basic necessities, such as school supplies, food and clothing—just to name a few examples. ICM especially focuses on the nurture of the most vulnerable of children—those who live in disadvantaged conditions that can lead to unhealthy behaviors and stunted futures.
In 2008, ICM embarked on a statewide movement. Over the past four years, ICM has traveled from one corner of Georgia to the next. In response to the work of ICM, faith communities have opened afterschool programs, established summer lunch programs, provided child abuse prevention trainings to their congregants, sent persons to ICM’s children’s issues and advocacy trainings and attended ICM Day at the Capitol.
Individual faith communities have established an ICM Advocate. Branches of ICM are in Cobb County as well as Macon, GA.
Interfaith Children’s Movement has been recognized by other child-centered agencies as an integral movement in child advocacy:
- ICM was invited by The Sapelo Foundation to be the faith community arm of the juvenile code reform effort in Georgia, led by JUSTGeorgia.
- ICM is the co-chair of the School Drop-out Prevention Task Group of Strengthening Families and Communities Coalition –Atlanta; ICM was invited to participate in a White House forum on Urban Innovation based on the work we are doing in school drop-out prevention.
- ICM serves as co-chair of 2020 Georgia, an alliance that promotes a balanced approach to Georgia’s budget and revenue policies.
- ICM partnered with the Governor’s Office of Children and Families and trained almost 700 mental health/social work professionals across Georgia on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
- ICM works closely with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning in advocating for safe and quality learning centers for Georgia’s youngest citizens.
- ICM serves on the Prevent Child Abuse Georgia Advisory Board.
- ICM serves as a Partner and the Volunteer Chair for the annual Celebration of Excellence for Georgia’s foster care children who are graduating high school and college.
- ICM serves on the advisory board of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
- The cause for children is the work of this movement. The work requires a vision of generations of thriving children and a commitment to building the foundation by which that vision can become reality.
- You can learn more about ICM and the work of the movement by visiting www.interfaithchildrensmovement.org. Article submitted by Pamela Perkins Carn, ICM Program Coordinator