CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Local advocates are in Washington D.C. through Tuesday to meet with lawmakers and attend in-depth advocacy training to help children around the world.

Kanawha Valley resident Jeannie Smith is one of them at the Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network’s annual Advocacy Summit. The attendees have goals of getting lawmakers to invest more in early childhood education in the U.S. and provide humanitarian support for the world’s children.

“I hope that lawmakers realize that there is interest here,” Smith said. “We do care about all levels of education so we are always looking about how are we going to turn our state around. They realize that this is a way to invest in our future.”

Save the Children Action Network calls itself the political voice for kids, fighting for educational and humanitarian rights. The non-governmental organization was founded over 100 years ago.

One of the leading spokespeople for the network is Charleston native and actress Jennifer Garner. Smith said she was aware of this program because of Garner as she looked for ways to get involved and change West Virginia for the better.

More than 200 advocates will be in D.C. as part of the Save the Children Action network including West Virginia University student Brittany Smith.

Jeannie Smith said some major things that will be on her mind are a child’s early life and attracting more volunteers.

“In the state, we do focus on K through 12, which is important, but we do need to focus on those early years to make sure that the kids are set up for success throughout life and school,” she said.

Jeannie Smith added that anyone that has an interest in the promotion of early education and wanting to end preventable deaths is welcome to come volunteer for the network.

She noted the Save the Children Action Network website, SavetheChildren.org.

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