Part Two: Using Your Voice Through Advocacy

Monte Nido & Affiliates Regional Outreach Manager Tamie Gangloff continues to share  her journey in advocacy work in part two of her series. Tamie writes about her first experience on Capitol Hill and how you can get involved in eating disorder awareness work as well! 

My first time on the Hill was intimidating and I had no idea what to expect. I would like potential advocates <YOU> to know what a day is like. We have a briefing in the morning to discuss what we are asking for. Each time we advocate, our ‘asks’ are different so we are educated about our asks and have materials to give to our representatives at our meetings. You will not be expected to know all of the legislative details, directions around the capitol or where to eat lunch. You are not expected to have a degree in Political Science or know all of the statistics. You will have a team leader, as well as experienced advocates, to help you.

As a team leader, I help my team discover how they can share their experience as it relates to legislation. This is absolutely critical! It is the stories, tears and authenticity that reach our representatives. They meet with many constituents, every day, that have an important cause that requires support. We reach them with our powerful words. We have meetings scheduled with our representatives throughout the day – these meetings are typically with staffers. Staffers are on your representative’s staff that often specialize in health issues. Meetings are brief and to the point and many representatives do not show emotion. It is important to know that they are trained to not show emotion but it does not mean that you aren’t reaching them.

In Fall of 2017, one of our asks, with the Eating Disorders Coalition, was to have a congressionally recognized National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This was met with a positive response from our representatives. We do not always see an immediate result but we do see results. Last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and our Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation declaring February 26 through March 4, 2018, as Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. The United States Senate has passed Senate Resolution 419, officially designating Feb. 26 – March 4 National Eating Disorders Awareness Week for the first time. This is direct proof that our voices are heard!

When we connect with our representatives, we form relationships with them that have a ripple effect. Locally, Congressman Ryan Costello has attended and presented at the West Chester PA NEDA Walk that I am grateful to lead! We met him in DC during my first advocacy day and he continues to be an incredible support to us locally and in our nation’s capitol.

Our next Advocacy Day is coming up on April 24th! We hope to see you there! If you have any questions about it, I am happy to chat anytime. Together, we can make a difference.

Learn more about Advocacy Day HERE.


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