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Go Ask Mom

MomsRising: Hop aboard the N.C. Little Engine that Could for Kids

Posted February 15, 2011 8:00 p.m. EST

Children’s books are one of my parenting “secret weapons." I often turn to them to help my kids get through whatever challenge they are facing at the moment. Whether it’s starting school, making friends, or potty training, there always seems to be a book that helps them get through it easier.

When my son was younger, he’d get frustrated when he tried something hard and wanted to quit. I was excited to have an excuse to pull out a classic children’s book, "The Little Engine that Could."

In the story, there was a trainload of things children needed that had to get to the other side of the mountain. It was a long, hard journey and many were asked to help but didn’t. The Little Engine That Could stepped up to the plate to deliver food to children on the other side of a mountain. Though the mountain was steep and the obstacles mighty, this engine knew that it was critical to take care of children so he kept trying. Thanks to him, the children got what they needed. His “I think I can” message helped my son just like it helped me as a kid.

That’s why I’m so excited to be joining with other moms and kids as we take the Little Engine’s message over to the N.C. General Assembly this month!

On Feb. 23, MomsRising members and our kids will board a trolley to the General Assembly wearing engineers’ caps and bearing messages from North Carolina parents reminding our state legislators that “we think they can” find a way to protect essential children’s programs even in this tough budget year. It’s going to be a long, hard session with difficult choices, but just like in the story, the children are relying on them to have the will to do the right thing.

We want you to join us on board the N.C. Little Engine that Could for Kids! It's a fun, free event than will make a big difference for families in North Carolina. Don't worry - you don't have to search for your child's engineer hat, we already have one waiting for you! RSVP to reserve your trolley seats today at

We’ll be delivering small, child-crafted trains to legislators to urge them to take a balanced approach to the state budget and protect critical children’s programs from the devastating cuts that have been proposed.

Among the proposed cuts:

  • Firing 5,000 teachers and 13,000 teachers’ assistants, which will cause class sizes to increase by an average of three children per class across the state;
  • Massive cuts to community health services and Smart Start, NC’s nationally-recognized early childhood education program;
  • Slashing proven programs preventing infant mortality and providing affordable child care for children in North Carolina.

These cuts will have long-lasting impacts on our children’s and our state’s future.

If you’re worried about what these cuts will do for your child and our state, please give your state legislator a call and urge them to take a balanced approach to the budget. To find out who represents you, visit

And to get updates and have opportunities to take action, we hope you’ll join us! Sign up with MomsRising for free at Together we are a powerful voice for N.C. families!

Beth Messersmith is a Durham mother of two and a member of NC MomsRising. Find her here once a month on Go Ask Mom.