8 Things You Can Do to Make a Difference
1. Join the Stroke Advocacy Network
Make your commitment to stroke official and join National Stroke Association’s Stroke Advocacy Network. Go to the Stroke Advocacy Network Action Center at www.stroke.org/actioncenter and sign up to receive policy updates, advocacy tips, email prompts to reach out to your legislators and invitations to participate in advocacy training webinars.
2. Learn About Your Government
If you don’t remember much from your high school civics class, you are not alone. Understanding how government works and which legislators are working on the issues that are important to you is a critical piece to becoming an informed and effective advocate. One terrific resource on how Congress (Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives) operates is http://thomas.loc.gov. Here you’ll find primers on the legislative process as well as information on what your legislators are up to. Refer to the Know Who You’re Talking To (And Why You’re Relevant) information sheet in this toolkit for guidance on becoming better informed about your elected officials.
3. Share Your Views with Legislators: Write, Call or Visit
Keeping their fingers on the “pulse of the people” is a top priority for legislators and their staffs, and the communications that matter most are from their constituents. Make sure the issues they are attending to are yours! There are many resources in this toolkit dedicated to helping you craft your message (e.g., the Developing and Sharing Your Personal Story worksheet) and effectively sharing it with legislators (e.g., the 10 Tips for Effectively Communicating with Legislators information sheet). Additional resources can be found at www.stroke.org/actioncenter.
The U.S. was built on the premise that self-government is a natural right of every citizen. Unfortunately, participation by citizens in national elections is very low compared with other democracies. Only 25 to 50 percent of eligible citizens in the U.S. participate in typical national elections. In the November 2008 elections, a year that many thought was a “high-water” mark for electoral participation, voter turnout was just around 58 percent.
5. Speak up!
Talk to your peers, colleagues, family, friends, strangers and the media about stroke and how it has specifically affected you. Share why you are passionate about working with the Stroke Advocacy Network and ask directly for support of your cause. The time has come for all survivors and caregivers to courageously share their stories.
6. Make Allies
Find and work with other individuals, groups and organizations in your community who are linked to stroke-related issues such as healthcare, rehabilitation, work-place support of persons with disabilities, long-term care and so on. There really is strength in numbers and in voices.
7. Host an Event
Help organize a community event to raise awareness about stroke or to raise funds that support our advocacy and stroke education programs and activities. Visit www.stroke.org/getinvolved for suggestions and tools to help you create and manage a successful event.
Go to www.stroke.org/donate to make a tax-deductible donation and help National Stroke Association further its mission to positively impact the health and lives of people in the U.S. With your support we can help prevent stroke, improve quality of care and enhance quality of life after stroke.
Donations can also be sent to:
Stroke Advocacy Network
c/o National Stroke Association
9707 E Easter Ln Ste B
Centennial CO 80112-3747