Let’s get started! What we’re up to this week…

Oh my gosh!  I am so excited.  My first post, well second if you count the place holder.  So far, I have kept my New Year’s resolution – for one whole day!

Silhouette of a girl jumping over sunset

I hope you have also resolved to participate in this exciting adventure called advocacy!  I promise you will learn something, but what I really hope to accomplish is to move you to DO something.

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t start out with my favorite Margaret Meade quote (don’t worry, I have others up my sleeve for later…)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

>Ahem<  – She’s talking about you and I!!   We share a passion.  We need to unite our voice and I promise, we can make a difference!

I started as a Mom with a very sick kid.  I did not like the fact that I had never heard of a heart defect, and was scared to death about what the future held for my child.  (Sound familiar?)  I told my story to a few people, then a few more.  Turns out there are quite a few people with CHD out there (over 2 million!!)  After my first trip to Washington D.C. as a volunteer advocate, I was hooked.  Telling my story and watching the impact was rewarding beyond words!

Since I began advocating, I have seen a CHD law passed, funded and implemented at the federal level, and many other CHD laws passed at the state level.  I did not do that.  No single person did that.  It was a collective effort of many advocates, people just like you.

hourglass

Ack, that is my reminder I have been talking too much.  So enough jabbering – let’s get started.  Many of you are not new to CHD, but new to advocacy.  So this week, we’ll just start with the basics.  If you are a veteran advocate, hang in there.  There is lots of great stuff in store!!  The first several months of the legislative year always promise to be exciting!

As I said, this week, we’ll begin with the top things that helped me most when I was getting started.

1) Get to know your lawmakers.  I can’t tell you how many times I would (ok, still do) get their names mixed up.  But, the more times I reached out, the more I learned!  For more information read the related post.

2) Know the facts.  Not a lot, just a few, accurate ones.  Facts help put things in perspective.  Check this out.

3) Get your story straight.  Your story is your tool for success.  Learn how to sharpen your story here.

4) Know what we’re fighting for.  There are many, many problems children and adults with heart defects face on a daily basis – however, we only advocate for a few at a time. Here are a few sources for great info.

5) Go for it!  The key to successful advocacy is developing relationships with your lawmakers. Check out our Action Alert section for different ways to take action!!

I have had amazing mentors, and I hope to provide you with the same love and support! Advocating can be what you want it to be. The important first step is that you commit do doing something!

Your Turn: Have you ever advocated before? Tell us about your experience.

Together… we can make a difference!

Advocacy is fun.  Advocacy is easy.  Advocacy is important!!!!

I am so excited to be starting a blog!!!  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love advocacy, and I love to talk.  What better way to put this together than a blog! (I also love exclamation marks – sorry, grammar folks.) As Public Policy Manager at the Adult Congenital Heart Association, I get to see the benefits of successful advocacy on a daily basis. It is my dream to get more people involved in advocacy and I am hopeful that a blog is one way to do that.

Although the official start date will be January 7th, I have been working obsessively to lay the groundwork.  But, a blog is only as strong as it’s readers.  I need your help to make this blog yours, too.

Who should read this blog?

  • Everyone, of course!
  • Anyone interested in being an advocate of any kind.  The stories, tools and suggestions you will find here can fit any sort of advocacy, really.
  • But mostly, anyone impacted by congenital heart defects.  There are millions of us out there.  Imagine the difference we could make!!!

Why should you read this blog?

  • Anyone can be an advocate and make a world of difference.  I am living proof!!
  • There is a lot to be done.  Through this blog, we can laugh together, learn together, and work together to make a difference!
  • I eat sleep and breath CHD advocacy.  I have learned a few things along the way that I would like to share with you!

A few things you can expect:

  • Advocacy Tools
  • Action Alerts
  • Shout Outs
  • Anecdotes
  • Guest Bloggers (Can’t go it alone!)

A couple of topics in the works:

  • Advocacy 101: Tips to get you started
  • CHD Priorities: What are we fighting for?

Thanks to efforts of advocates, like you, we have made a lot of progress in both State and Federal advocacy.  Join us to learn how you can make a difference!!