Joslyn Ward participated in several home visiting programs for her two young sons over the years. She loved having someone nearby who was relatable and knowledgeable. Joslyn is passionate about making sure support is available during early childhood and wants to help make the community a better place for her boys, now ages 4 and 6.
Joslyn was one of the first parents on First Steps Kent's Resident Proposal Review Board, which helps to determine how the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage funding is allocated. She applied to sit on the committee and went through several rounds of interviews before being selected.
Joslyn spoke up in Review Board meetings, used her voice, and shared her expertise as a parent.
"As a parent, you weren’t considered less of a voice because you don’t have letters behind your names. In my experience, they took our opinions even more seriously."
“For us, it’s essential to have parent voice,” said Annemarie Valdez, President of First Steps Kent. “Meaningful input from parents helps ensure the system is responsive to what families need and want and provides support in a way that is accessible and comfortable.”
“It’s a beautiful thing to see professionals and politicians looking to parents for opinions and advice on how they felt the program was doing,” said Josyln. “Our role is bringing our experience to the table and talking about whether a program really does what it says it does.”
Joslyn has since retired from the Review Board, but her voice and passion will continue to influence the work. She now serves on the First Steps Kent Board of Commissioners along with two other parent leaders.
“I am proud to be part of a county that values early childhood education. It makes me feel like there are people out there who want to hear from the people they are affecting.” - Joslyn O. Ward, parent leader