Good Things Utah was honored to have Abby Cox, First Lady of the State of Utah come by our studio to discuss all her latest launches, organizations, and plans.
Fairview’s Abby Cox just became First Lady of the State of Utah a few months ago, but already she’s launched a big initiative, a women’s organization, and a podcast.
You have learned so much about the community’s need for connection and healing as we come out of this pandemic, and as we are still in civil strife and are working to show true love and gain true understanding about people around us who may seem different than we are.
Show Up is a rallying cry. It’s about encouraging Utahns everywhere to reach out wherever they are and however they can to lift others, serve others, and be willing to learn and appreciate different points of view.
It’s about Showing Up wherever you can with open hearts, empathy, and compassion for everyone. It’s about being brave enough to be there for others.
As a friend of the First Lady said — “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to Show Up!”
Within the Show Up umbrella, there are four specific initial focus areas.
- Social and Emotional Learning
2. Utah’s students are facing more challenges than ever before, including things like suicide, technology addiction, bullying, higher than ever rates of anxiety, and the lack of skills needed to resolve conflicts and self-management.
3. Social and emotional learning is critical to empower resiliency within our children.
4. Research shows that SEL not only improves academic achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students. And it can still have a positive effect up to 18 years later.
Supporting Utah’s foster children and their families:
-At any given point during the year we have from 2,400 to 2,800 youth in the foster care system.
-Of those youth, about 300-400 of them have their goal shift from reunification to adoption because they aren’t able to go back to their parents.
-These youth, especially those who are over the age of 8 are our most vulnerable group of children in the state.
-Nationally we know that children who age out of the system without a well-matched adoption are the most vulnerable kids in the United States.
National statistics on this issue show that:
-They are the most likely group to be trafficked.
-They are 3 times more likely than their peers to commit suicide.
-They struggle with addiction and homelessness.
-Half don’t graduate from High School.
-They are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from PTSD than a military combat veteran.
-They are the most likely to lose their children to the foster care system, repeating the cycle.
-In Utah, in 2020, we had 123 of these vulnerable youth ages out of the system without an adoptive family.
-In Utah, there is currently 283 youth who have the goal of adoption.
-In partnership with America’s Kids Belong and other foster care organizations, we will be launching public education, awareness, and resource campaigns for the benefit of Utah’s foster children and their families.
Not everyone feels called to foster or adopt, but everyone can SHOW UP in some way.
-As an individual, you can look around and find someone you know who is a foster parent or a relative and ask what help they need.
-There’s something called a Care Community that we’re going to dive into.
-The concept is that a foster or kinship/relative family has several families assigned to wrap around them to share the experience and lighten their needs.
-You could spend a little time each week taking a meal or folding laundry or mowing the lawn or running a child to an appointment for a foster or relative family. Be that friend that supports in a meaningful way.
There is so much need in this area. These children are precious and beautiful and deserve as much love as the children in your own homes, and families. Their circumstances don’t have to define who they are, and they won’t if we Show Up for them.
-Expanding the Special Olympics Unified Sports program
-Unified Sports is a project of the Special Olympics that joins people with and without intellectual and physical disabilities on the same sports teams.
-Team sports bring people together. Unified Sports teams do that and much more. Unified Sports breaks down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way. The project empowers individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to engage through the power of sports, build lasting relationships, and developing love and empathy for others.
-Partnering with the Governor’s Office to continue to do service projects and encourage service as a way of life for Utahns.