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!
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.
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.