by Derek Loutenstock
Young Leaders Member
Legislators are actually real people. No, seriously they are. This was an exciting discovery for me. Thanks to my involvement in United Way of Salt Lake’s advocacy efforts, I learned that I’m represented by a state representative and state senator who aren’t just names in the newspaper or pictures on TV, but who have families, jobs, and worries just like me.
And the best part about them being real people?
Since I’m a real person, too, I can influence how they represent me.
United Way makes it easy to influence these real people on issues and concerns critical to our society – critical to me. While you may hear “advocacy” and think of Mother Teresa or Pamela Atkinson, advocacy can be as simple and easy as taking one minute – seriously, one minute – to contact the people who were elected to represent you. In one minute, you can make a difference that can impact your neighborhood, city, state, and your country. Even the world. (Please pause for a moment and open your mouth in exasperation as you consider “the world.”)
How does United Way make this easy?
It use social media (where you spend all of your time anyway, right?) to alert you to advocacy opportunities and its website to help you follow through on those opportunities.
How do you sign up for these alerts?
Go to United Way of Salt Lake’s website at www.uw.org/advocate/, complete the “Advocate Now” information at the bottom of the page, and click “Submit.” It takes less time than the one minute it takes to change the world. And these are alerts that really matter. Or, at least they matter more than the tweets and posts from that friend of yours who’s kind enough to alert you every time he goes outside. Now you’ll have an excuse to defriend him – because you’re too busy changing the world!
But does it really make a difference?
Yes. There is no qualifying small print. Just Y-E-S. Last year, thanks to the advocacy efforts of citizens just like you, a bill passed through the state legislature for high-quality preschool through a cutting-edge private/public partnership program (watch a video to learn more!). This happened because of the one-minute world changes made by people like you.
After a couple of one-minute world changes, you may start to feel the power of advocacy; the power of speaking up on behalf of yourself and others. You may desire to do more, and make even bigger waves. United Way helps out here, too. During the state legislative session, United Way of Salt Lake plans trips to the State Capitol where you can send messages to, and even meet with, your state legislator or senator. Or you can attend committee hearings and watch in awe at the beautiful artwork. United Way uses the same alert methods to let you know about these opportunities, too. All you have to do is sign up.
I invite you to change the world. Sign up for alerts at www.uw.org/advocate/.