How to get Involved with Advocacy Month

IMG_1975

This year, the State Action Team has been meeting with our elected officials to raise awareness and support for Illinois DECA. State and National Congresspeople have been open to hearing about DECA and helping however they can.

As active citizens, we have both the right and responsibility of talking with and sharing our ideas with our elected officials. You could discuss your cause, express your thoughts and concerns, or even ask for help. But how do you do that?

1. Find out who your elected officials are.
Use this link and find out who represents you at the local, State, and National levels.

http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx

2. Get in touch.
Each of them have their own websites and contact information, so all you have to do is send an email or give their office a call.
It’s that easy! Yes, really.

Worried that they may not care? Worried that you won’t know what to say? Worried that you’ll be nervous when you talk to them? Never spoken with one of the “big guys” before? Here are a few simple tips that’ll help.

1. You don’t have anything to lose!
Remember that you can’t end up in a worse place than before. If you don’t try to talk with them, you definitely won’t get any help or responses. If you try to talk with them, you may or may not get a response, but at least you’ve got a shot. Plus, you have more than one official, so if one of them doesn’t respond, see if you have better luck with some of the others.

2. Don’t take anything personally.
The officials are usually very busy, and each has a unique agenda and platform. Don’t take it personal if things don’t turn out exactly how you expected, and keep trying. Someone is bound to want to help, or know someone who can!

3. Bring a hard copy of some information when you talk with them.
From past experience, they like to have something to take with them and it serves as a reminder of what you said. It also helps to remind you of what you want to talk to them about. Getting nervous? Take a look at your sheet to see what points you still need to talk about.

4. Don’t be nervous, they’re just people too!
At the end of the day, they are people too! They go home after work, eat like you and do the same things you do, so don’t be nervous to talk with them! Talk to them like any other adult, just remember to stay formal.

Whatever you do, have fun with it!