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Published in Print: April 20, 2005, as Preschool Group Latches On to Wristbands

Preschool Group Latches On to Wristbands

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Cycling champion Lance Armstrong made “livestrong” yellow wristbands popular through his foundation for cancer education and research.

Proceeds from the sale of pink rubber bracelets go to the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. There’s even a bracelet for tsunami relief and another denouncing racism.

Now, a child-advocacy organization in Florida is tapping into the socially conscious fashion trend by selling orange bands to raise money to support high-quality preschools.

“Oh my God, it’s been overwhelming,” Kim Gwynn, the campaign assistant at the Children’s Campaign in Tallahassee, Fla., said about the demand for the bracelets. “Everybody in early-childhood [education] wants one. We don’t want to squelch it because it’s been such a positive thing.”

Imprinted on the bands is the phrase “For the kids,” as well as the campaign’s Web site, qualityprek.org.

Money raised from the sale of the bands is used to promote improvements to Florida’s universal pre-K program, which will get under way this summer. Ms. Gwynn said the bracelets are not meant to be a sign of protest against inadequate funding and low standards, but instead to generate awareness about high-quality preschool.

“We’re not reacting to the present situation as much as we are encouraging people who are interested to understand that we’re not there yet,” she said.

Popular Color

An advocacy group in Florida is selling orange bands to support preschools.
An advocacy group in Florida is selling orange bands to support preschools.
—Photo illustration by Sevans/Education Week

The idea for the bands, which sell for $21 for a pack of 10, came when Linda Alexionok, the universal-prekindergarten director for the organization, and Amanda Busch, its coordinator of policy administration, were brainstorming with some interns.

They were trying to think of a way to attract attention to their cause during “Children’s Week,” an annual event organized by the United Way of Florida and held during the state’s legislative session. This year’s activities, which focus on issues affecting children and families, began April 1.

Ms. Gwynn said she and others at the Children’s Campaign have been asked if they chose orange because the color is associated with the tropical fruit Florida is famous for growing. But she said that’s not the case. “We just picked orange because it’s bright,” she said. “And kids like it.”

Vol. 24, Issue 32, Page 6

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