Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Grassroots Manager (GAO)
You’ve attended the annual legislative Ambassador training. You’ve studied the talking points. You know the fact sheet. To make the transition from “Hello” to “Equalized Access” it would help to fill the script with soft transitional conversation that does not take too much time from your purpose. Here are some ways to gain confidence headed into the meat-and-bones of your legislative interactions:
Google the legislator’s name and local newspaper name for search results containing stories of his or her involvement in the community.
Ask me for a “footprint” of the BAYADA clients and staff residing in the legislator’s district.
Go to the legislator’s webpage and scroll for recent activity related to home care or health care.
Ask me to research any previous meetings that Ambassadors or GAO staff has had with a tenured legislator.
At a week forward, week in review, or staff meeting in your office, ask your colleagues if they have any knowledge or had any interactions with the legislator you are visiting. You’d be surprised!
Remember: You’re the expert in the room during your time with a legislator. Your State Director has provided you with ample resources and I encourage you to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I will be thrilled to help in any way possible.
Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Grassroots Manager (GAO
Our Ambassador program focuses on supporting our Ambassadors as they develop relationships with local legislators. We do this through Ambassador training, one-on-one guidance from GAO State Directors and I and through other tools and resources.
One new tool we are excited to bring Ambassadors is our private Facebook group.
This Facebook group is a great opportunity for our Ambassadors to support their peers, recognize success, and bounce ideas off of one another. It will give them the opportunity to interact “live” with GAO staff, other Ambassadors, office staff, and field staff, answer questions, start discussions to empower colleagues to accomplishing effective advocacy interactions, and celebrate one another’s successes. Check out the Hearts for Homecare private Facebook site and get involved: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1329442400470650/?ref=br_rs
Submitted by Candice Proctor, Client Services Manager and GAO Ambassador (MBP)
There is nothing more meaningful than caring for our clients daily and advocating for them and their families.
On Thursday, April 13, our Mechanicsburg, PA Pediatrics (MBP) office had the pleasure of hosting a visit from Pennsylvania Republican Representative Greg Rothman. We gave him a tour of our office, and then orchestrated a home visit with one of our families.
This was an immensely meaningful visit for all involved. When our legislators see firsthand the importance and impact of home care, they immediately understand why it’s meaningful and necessary. We could not be more grateful to have such a fantastic advocate in our nation’s capital.
It’s easy to see how happy Rep. Rothman’s visit made everyone. We’ll never stop working to make magic happen, because we know that, together, we can make a difference for our families and communities.
Submitted by Michael Sokoloski, Manager, Grassroots Advocacy (GAO)
On March 23, at the North Carolina Learning Center, Hearts for Home Care ambassadors gathered for their annual advocacy training, with the focus on story-telling. While it is extremely important for lawmakers to understand the policies behind the laws, one must capture their interest first. A client story is the perfect way. We invited a former BAYADA family advocate, Lynn Wright from Shelby, to share her story. She described what she went through with both of her parents living with Alzheimer’s and how she advocated for them. Paraphrasing Lynn’s words on the value of home health care…I can tell you how much it cost, but that is not value. I measure value in smiles, independence, safety and security, and peace of mind for knowing everything will be ok. That is why I advocate. Her words were powerful, striking a chord in many.
During an exercise, our new ambassadors put together a six-word story of their own to convey why they advocate (see below). “I’m always impressed by the commitment of our ambassadors,” said Lee Dobson, Area Director Government Affairs. “They speak from the heart…and that is what a legislator will remember.” In addition to story-telling, attendees learned how to garner support on our rate increase and the grueling process by which a bill will become a law.
Below are some of the six-word stories from our ambassadors on why they advocate: