Advocacy Efforts

Practicum instructor narrative evaluation: ______ is tackling some very hot issues right now linked to healthcare reform (or lack thereof) and the impact on people dealing with poverty and homelessness. I am impressed with ______ commitment to understanding and sharing her knowledge with others to provide information and service to our young people. I look forward to ______ future projects involving creating eligibility tools for our clients as for the agency. I also look forward to hearing ______impressions of the upcoming advocacy efforts (Youth Young Adult Summit and Youth Advocacy Day) and how we might be able to support or participate in ongoing advocacy efforts

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Occasionally I am invited to lunch and an individual will want to know how I ended up in politics, “Do you know a policy maker?” This makes me chuckle, because I am not a politician. Yes, I have helped persuade lawmakers to make some significant changes in my profession, and in the community I live in. I also know my lunch companions assume I am in politics as my advocacy days go back nearly two decades. In graduate school I advocated for my practicum spot, which was at the time one of the few homeless clinics in America at the time. Yes, I was paying to be the help, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. The opportunity allowed me to get down in the trenches. Growing up below the poverty line I know poor individuals are often not heard, and poor children are all but silenced. I wanted to do my part. I know without a doubt welfare and charity helped me obtain my first pair of glasses, and some kind unknown person kept me updated on my immunizations and dental appointments. Graduate school was a full circle moment, as it allowed me to advocate for these youth. I learned everything I could about insurance, took copious notes, and polled and questioned clients- all the while walking youth and young adults through insurance applications. Many of them had less than a middle school education and had gone through enough trauma without playing the bureaucratic red tape game. I presented their successes, failures, and frustrations to my state capitol because I am a firm believer that when you get through the door you just don’t leave the door open for those behind you. You remove the locks and do your best to kick the door down so its irreplaceable.

 

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