Advocate

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Opportunity: The national GrandRally provides an excellent opportunity for grandfamilies and their supporters to raise awareness about the need for policies that support relative caregivers and the children in their care.

Building on Past Success: Past GrandRallies created momentum for additional help for grandparents and other relatives raising children.

Policy priorities for the GrandRally are listed here.

How Can I Help?

You can help by meeting with your Congressperson while you’re here at the GrandRally! If you are unable to come to the GrandRally, you can learn about other ways to help by clicking here.

Why? This a fantastic opportunity to…

  • SHARE: your personal experience with your Member of Congress – after all, you’re the expert!
  • EDUCATE: lawmakers about programs and services which assist grandparents and other relatives raising children (we will provide you with additional information to assist you in discussing this topic).
  • RECOMMEND: improvements to current policies to provide increased support for these children and families (we will provide you with additional information to assist you in discussing this topic).

Print out much of the below information in our legislative visit registration packet.

GrandRally Legislative Visits Overview

Did you go on any legislative visits as part of the GrandRally? If so, please fill out this form and return it to Adam Otto at aotto@gu.org.

After the Rally, participants are encouraged to visit with their Senators and Representatives to speak about the needs of children and grandfamilies.

Senate Visits:

State contacts will schedule visits with Senators for all GrandRally attendees. Let your state contact know that you would like to attend.

To identify your state contact and get information about your state’s Senate meetings, visit the State Contacts page.

House Visits:

GrandRally attendees should schedule their own meetings with their district’s Representative. For more information on the process of scheduling a meeting, review the scheduling a visit section below.

You can also review slides when they become available from our webinars that explain the process of scheduling and conducting meetings with members of Congress.

Timing:

Please call as soon as possible to schedule your visit, ideally before May 3rd. If possible, schedule your appointment between the hours of 2:30pm and 5:00pm on Wednesday, May 10th, or in the morning prior to rally activities if you will not be attending the morning advocacy training.

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How to Schedule a Visit with Your Members of Congress

Step 1: Identify Your Member of Congress:

  1. Visit govtrack.us and enter your address to find out the members of Congress that represent you.
  2. Be sure to visit your member’s webpage for an update on issues he/she is working on when planning your visit.

Step 2: Make an Appointment:  To schedule a meeting with your Member of Congress, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the Member’s office. Once connected, share your name with the staffer and ask to speak with the scheduler to make a scheduling request with your Member of Congress.

Step 3: Speaking to the Scheduler:  The first time you call your Representative or Senator to arrange an appointment, you might be a little nervous.  The script on the next page is intended to help you with that first call.  Be persistent. If you can’t get an appointment with the member or staff when you are in Washington, schedule an appointment in your home state when you return. A sample communication to a scheduler can be found on page six of the legislative visit packet.

Don’t be disappointed if you cannot see the Representative or Senator; ask to meet with the staff person who handles children’s or older adult issues in the office. Staff members play a very important role in identifying and following policy issues for Members of Congress.

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Worried about what to say? No problem. We will train you!

To prepare for your visits with members of Congress, there will be three opportunities to attend an advocacy training. Depending on your state, you may also be training at home or on a bus. See your state contact for more information.

What is a typical training like?

Caregivers and advocates will learn more about policy issues affecting grandparents and other relatives raising children, find out how to effectively educate members of Congress, and receive materials to help prepare them and feel comfortable for their visits with Senators and Representatives the day of the Rally.

When will the trainings take place?

  • Advocacy Training Webinar: April 26th, 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM (ET); register here
  • Advocacy Training #1: May 9th, 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM; 25 E Street NW
  • Advocacy Training #2: May 10th, 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM; 25 E Street NW
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How can I help if I can’t attend the GrandRally?

You can still play an important role, even if you can’t attend the GrandRally in person.

Participate in our virtual rally the day of the Rally

There are three ways to participate:

  • Watching livestreams
  • Using our call-in number to raise your voice with legislators
  • Joining the conversation on social media

Learn more about the virtual rally here.

Schedule a visit with your member’s District Office, April – May

Visit your policymaker close to home in their districe office. Our tips and suggestions still apply.

Coordinate activities in your state to Celebrate, April – May

To bring attention to the needs of children and grandfamilies nationwide, organize activities in your home state. Show your support by asking folks in your area to send emails to your legislators at the state and national level or write op-eds for your local paper.

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Navigating Capitol Hill

The GrandRally will involve lots of walking activities. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Please give yourself adequate time to get from office to office, particularly if you are going from a Senate office to a House office since the offices are several blocks away and will take approximately 30 minutes. Moving from an office on the same side of Congress will take approximately 15 minutes.

Learn more about navigating Capitol Hill on pages 10 and 11 in the legislative visit packet or on the website.

 Traveling within DC

The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority offers safe and clean transportation throughout the city. Trains and stations are reasonably accessible for people with disabilities. If you have questions, station managers and rail station employees are available to assist. For more information on riding metro please visit www.wmata.com.

Taxi service is readily available in Washington, DC. Taxis operate on a meter system. Most rides within the District are between $5-15, without an expected 15-20% gratuity. Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft are also plentiful. Learn more about transportation options here.

  1. Advocacy Training and Celebration Dinner – Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
  2. GrandRally – The GrandRally will take place a few blocks walk from the Union Station stop on the Red Line.

View the full schedule of events here.

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Resources

The GrandFacts state fact sheets for grandfamilies include state-specific data and programs as well as information about public benefits, educational assistance, legal relationship options and state laws for each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

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