Alicia Wong is an ACE Action Fellow who is writing a monthly blog series on her experiences with her fellowship. Last month, she spoke to the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees about the Idle Free Schools Campaign.
The Idle Free campaign has been a part of my life for two years now. Idle Free means a lot to me because I want the air to be cleaner and safer for people, especially children.
A few weeks ago, Kim, Oscar (the other Reno Action Fellows) and I got an email from Rebecca Anderson asking if we could be at the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees meeting on February 10th. This meeting wasn't to take action in making an Idle Free policy yet but it was a chance for us to tell the Board about the program. I was shocked because we have been waiting for Idle Free to be introduced to the Board for a long time. I began to practice my speech as much as I could. The speech I prepared was the same speech I gave to the Washoe County Health Board, so I wasn't too nervous about it.
When Tuesday came around, I was excited. This is it, today is the day! Today we are going to present in front of the Board of Trustees! I got ready for school, making sure I looked professional. The whole day I was counting down the hours until I had to be at the meeting. After school, I went to the school district offices and met up with the other Fellows. We went into the back of the building to find a room to practice in, but we barely had any time before we had to head over to the meeting.
We weren't going to present as soon as we got there, so we just had to sit and wait for our turn. The anticipation really got to me. We had to wait for an hour and a half. We saw people get recognized, subjects were up for discussion, and so on. Finally, after sitting there reading my speech over and over countless times, it was our turn. I gave my speech as clearly as I could, making sure to look up and make eye contact with the Board members while I spoke. After I gave my speech, Oscar talked about how he went to Sacramento with Kimberly to testify to the EPA to support clean air. Everyone seemed impressed.
After we were done speaking, we took a few questions from the Board. Kim, Oscar and I answered most of them ourselves. I was delighted when people showed interest in the Idle Free Campaign. Then the moment we had been waiting for came, the President of the Board of Trustees said Idle Free would be up for discussion at a future meeting. After I heard those words, I was a bit emotional. My eyes teared up and in my head I was screaming, “YES! YES! YES! WE DID IT!”
We thanked the Board for their time, and then we left. Rebecca, Oscar, Kim and I stood outside jumping up and down. Our hard work had paid off! I was so proud of all of us. Of course it doesn't stop there. Our goal is for the Board to approve the Idle Free policy. It might take a while, but we will get there!