Joby Taylor is director of the Shriver Peaceworker Program.
Advocacy is a skill that all of us can use in our effort to create positive social change! There are so many ways to get involved in making a difference, and letting your voice be heard by public officials is one important way to impact issues and policy.
Last fall, UMBC’s Shriver Peaceworker Fellows participated in an “Advocacy 101” workshop to get them thinking about and practicing these important skills. We spent part of our retreat weekend in discussions, brainstorms, and mock meetings focused on advocacy training. Then, on February 28th, as part of Peace Corps Anniversary Week, we hit the Hill–Capitol Hill that is!
Six Peaceworkers cleared their schedules and traveled to Washington DC to spend the day meeting with diverse Congressional Offices. We shared stories from our Peace Corps experiences and talked about the many lessons they taught us and their ongoing influence on our commitment to service and civic engagement back home. Beyond sharing personal stories, we took the opportunity to ask our members of Congress to support a strong Peace Corps (and thoughtful foreign policy) for years to come.
Did you know that there are currently five members of Congress who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers? We met them all at the start of our day as they gave us some insider tips for our Hill meetings and then sent us out with an inspired charge to really make our voices heard. By day’s end our group, along with 90 total Returned Volunteers, had met with over 150 Congressional Offices!
This day of meeting with public officials and talking about a program that’s dear to our hearts was an experience that we can now apply to advocacy for other issues that we’re passionate about. Whether it’s writing a letter, making a call, or walking the Hill…think about adding Advocacy to your civic skill set. And if you are interested in the Peace Corps, call us at The Shriver Center and we’ll be happy to tell you more.
Contact the author, Joby Taylor, at email@example.com.