Editor’s Note: Daisy Ortiz, a parent involved with Sixpence in Crete, was Nebraska's representative at this summer's Strolling Thunder, an event in Washington, D.C., aimed at drawing attention to legislation supporting babies, toddlers and their parents.
This unexpected journey was definitely one of the most memorable experiences ever! We met great people with different stories and backgrounds just as unique as mine.
Campaign participants applied online by answering general information and some particular questions regarding our opinions on the development of our children ages 0-3 years. Going into it, I thought I wouldn’t be selected. In my Sixpence program alone, I know of many moms who have had barriers and struggles just as I have. Fortunately, approximately a week later I received a phone call notifying I had been selected. I decided to take Fabiola Dimas as my friend and Sixpence director to assist with the care of my daughter.
The campaign made me very thankful for our Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, and Congressman Adrian Smith for taking time to learn about important child care issues we face in Nebraska. I’ve benefitted from being part of Sixpence and having the group support to find proper child care, a beneficial job and help setting goals for me and my family. The campaign made me realize I have much to be grateful for, but also much to do to be an active citizen. The event highlighted barriers other states and/or moms face every day. There were children with disabilities who weren’t properly cared for, mothers who have sacrificed their careers for the sake of their children’s care and many more unrecognized needs for our children all over the nation.
This campaign and the opportunity to participate allowed me to grow as a mom and person. During my pregnancy I was told no one is ever completely ready to be a mom, and this was coming from successful, educated, planned-pregnancy mothers. You can imagine the fear this ignited in a 16-year-old with an unplanned pregnancy.
After taking part in Strolling Thunder conversations and getting to share my story, I realized I was there for a reason. I have come so far with the pure motivation of making my baby proud. I became pregnant with my now husband when I was only a junior in high school. I lost all goals of going to college, having a career and having a prosperous life, but that all changed with the support of my husband, family and programs like Sixpence. I’m currently a junior at UNL majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish and Gerontology, with future goals of getting my bachelor’s in Nursing. I’ll be graduating a year early, in May 2018. I wish to further my education with time, earn a job where I can go on my daughter’s field trips and have the energy to come home to play and dedicate quality time to her.
Photos, clockwise from top right:
Fabiola Dimas from Crete Sixpence (left), Daisy Ortiz and her daughter, Kayla
Daisy and Kayla with Rep. Adrian Smith
Kayla and other children in the Capitol