Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Advocating in Real Life

Part of my duties as a volunteer Advocacy Team Chair for my local JDRF chapter include setting up and attending Promise Meetings with our local legislators.  In a Promise Meeting, advocates thank the legislators for past support of diabetes issues and funding, talk about what issues are currently important (right now it’s FDA guidelines for the Artificial Pancreas Project) and tell our story of life with diabetes.  This real life interaction is very powerful because when the government officials are voting on issues concerning diabetes, they will remember the faces and stories of people these issues affect.

True confession time . . . . . . I was unbelievably nervous about doing my first Promise Meeting.  I’ve never met with a government official before.  And now I was in charge of coordinating and running the meeting.  Yikes!!  So, I decided to vlog the Before and After of my Promise Meeting (complete with my messy home office in the background and a quick cameo by K.C.).


As I said in the vlog, the group of advocates who attended the meeting with me were amazing!  We had 45 minutes slated for the meeting, but we talked for almost an hour.  The Congressman told us that this was his fifth Promise Meeting in five years, but it was the first time the meeting involved such lively conversation and interactions!  My team did an excellent job and made the meeting such a success, you’d never know that none of us had ever done a Promise Meeting before.

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If the thought of face-to-face advocating with government officials has you nervous, don’t be!  Remember, you are an expert on life with diabetes and sharing that is such a rewarding experience.  You can sign up here to attend a meeting in your area.

Have you done any off-line, in person advocating?  Do you have some insights to share?

5 comments:

  1. That is an excellent point - sometimes people are afraid to speak up because they are nervous or worried they do not have experience - but when it comes to advocating for diabetes, if you have lived with the disease, you reaaly an expert. People do not give themselves enough credit, but they really do matter a lot when it comes to influencing diabetes organizations and institutions. Especially if you know many other diabetics share your concerns and are fully behind you all the way. Whenever positive change occurs, it is because people have binded together and spoken up.

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  2. thanks for such an encouraging video! sounds like a positive experience for you as well, not just the congressman. the comment about the 8 week old baby being diagnosed stopped me in my tracks.

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  3. Great VLOG! You seemed on top of the world after the meeting. So good for those of us, who haven't attended a meeting yet, to see!

    Enjoyed the cat moment, too! As I say that, one of my cats is attempting to walk across my keyboard. :)

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  4. All I really want to say is - Thanks for advocating!

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  5. That's fantastic! As a newbie JDRF advocate (organized my first Promise Meeting this year), I love hearing/reading about stuff like this. It's what makes it so worthwhile. Way to rock the meeting!

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