In 2015 our advocacy efforts efforts helped us get 189 of our program participants involved in advocacy activities.
On a chilly day in late January we took our Director of Public Affairs, Deanna Smiley Gulliford, to the state Capitol (still under construction) and asked her why it was important to involve our participants in the advocacy process. Watch her explain in the video, and read her remarks below.
One of the most amazing parts of this work is actually taking program participants to the state Capitol to meet with their legislators. We participate in several “Days on the Hill” events and have found time and again that there is significant impact on both the individual and the elected official in the telling and hearing of personal stories.
Often, a program participant will express amazement that their voice matters and that it is actually heard. Not only does this empower program participants, but it also provides policy makers with the valuable resource of first-hand information for making informed policy and budget decisions.
So whether we are hosting a town hall forum at one of our locations, having a staff person testify at a committee hearing, or listening to a program participant tell a personal story to a legislator – we know that there is power in our presence and in our participation. It’s the power to influence better decisions and to get more people working.