By Amy Thompson, York Community High School
You are a constituent. Your place of employment is full of constituents and the students you help are also constituents (or future ones). Your voice deserves to be heard. When you speak, you speak for all of the students with whom you work, your school, and yourself.
Have you ever met with or spoken to your State Representative or State Senator? Have you ever called their office or sent them a letter or email? Have you ever campaigned for them? If you have, great! You are ready. If not, don’t be intimidated! Remember that legislators are humans too. Maybe you’ve considered taking action but just didn’t know how to “do it.” How about starting now? Let this year’s IACAC Advocacy Day be a great learning experience to jump in and speak directly with legislators about issues of importance to your work as a member of IACAC.
On Wednesday, April 13th, IACAC Members, along with like-minded groups in the Coalition of Illinois Counselor Organizations, are invited to converge in Springfield. Speaking about issues pertinent to our organizations, schools, and students will be our primary focus. IACAC’s Government Relations Committee will lead a training to prepare you for the day. At the conclusion of the day, we will re-convene to share what we learned and celebrate.
As an active member of IACAC, I have participated in the Advocacy Day for years and each time I attend, I always learn something new. I also find the time I give to be rewarding and worthwhile. You should take the plunge and join in on the fun (yes, it is fun)! You do not have to be an expert on how the government or the legislature works. We’re just looking for passionate professionals that enjoy serving their students and are willing to share their personal experiences. For example, there is nothing better than a personal narrative about the impact of the MAP grant or other funding for your students to drive home the points about how essential these programs are. Legislators need to know what it’s REALLY like “in the trenches” serving students. You provide that insight.
So, watch for further details via the IACAC Listserv and mark your calendar now to participate in IACAC’s Annual Advocacy Day on Wednesday, April 13th!