For those looking to help the cause of child wellbeing in Oklahoma, OICA has two important events coming up that we need the public’s help and input on. First, we will be concluding our art contest – Envisioning a Brighter Future for Oklahoma’s Children – a collaborative effort with the Oklahoma Department of Health. We would like for young artists from across the state to enter this competition. The top pieces of art will be displayed at Rainbow Fleet in Oklahoma City’s Paseo District on July 5 during the First Friday Art Walk, and we will print artwork on each of the 365 pages of OICA’s legislative calendar.

We are also about to close nominations for the Anne Roberts People’s Choice Awards next week. This is our award given to an individual child advocacy leader or organization, as voted upon by the people of Oklahoma on social media. We are currently receiving nominees, and our board committee will select finalists by the end of next week. If you know of someone or a group that deserves recognition, then please submit their information at http://oica.org/awards/anne-roberts-peoples-choice-award/ to ensure they are counted! The award for each will be presented at the OICA Heroes Ball on July 26 with our other presentations.

Regarding state capitol news, I am pleased to report that 145 interim study applications were submitted by members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives pertaining to children’s issues. We greatly appreciate those legislators who focused on these issues and who responded specifically to OICA requests. They include a robust offering of subjects, touching on everything from in-classroom discipline to addressing and preventing childhood trauma. We will certainly be writing more about these studies as they progress. OICA is looking forward to working with the House members discussing children’s policy, and we hope the senators will file several reviews of youth policies prior to their deadline next month.

I want to conclude this column by thanking Rep. Mickey Dollens for receiving a perfect score and perfect attendance in our legislator report card. He was inadvertently left off the list when we published the result. Thank you, Rep. Dollens, for your efforts this session to support Oklahoma’s children!