Advocacy August 2020: Mentoring Advocates Choose Your Actions!

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July 31st, 2020
Posted In: Advocacy

Adriane Alicea, Director of Government Relations, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

August is usually a time when members of Congress return to their home states to participate in a district work period to interact with their community, host events for their constituents like town halls, and conduct site visits at local organizations. This August recess will be like no other, as congressional offices, like the rest of the world, evolve in their operations in order to meet the ever-changing environment and circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Congressional offices are trying to overcome barriers in effective communication with their constituents during this time, figuring out how to utilize their staff in an effective way that meets community needs and balance congressional priorities related to the pandemic and other legislative issues.

This Advocacy August will look a bit different than the past, as we will not be able to attend town halls or visit our district Congressional offices in-person to engage in meaningful social connection while advocating for mentoring. However, MENTOR has modified tools that will allow advocates to communicate with members of Congress and their staff to discuss some of the challenges programs and communities are experiencing in the face of COVID-19. You can find these resources both on this blog post below and here.

  • Set up a Virtual Meeting with your member of Congress or Staff: August recess has historically been one of the best times to meet with members of Congress and congressional staff. In this time of social distancing, advocates can meet with district or DC staff easily via phone or video conferencing. This guide highlights how you can schedule a meeting and then follow-up with congressional staff.
  • Hosting a Virtual Site Visit: Site visits are one of the most important ways that members of Congress learn about the work of organizations in their communities. While nothing beats the experience of being in-person with each other, there are innovative ways that you can bring your mentoring program to members of Congress and their staff virtually.
  • Tips and Sample Questions on Attending a Virtual or Telephone Town Hall: MENTOR has prepared sample questions to help prepare for the issues and topics you may want to ask your member of Congress at a virtual or telephone town hall. This also includes a short description of how virtual and tele town halls work.
  • Send a Message to your members of Congress: Help the mentoring movement send at least 1,500 messages to Capitol Hill throughout the month of August! Ask your member of Congress to stand up for mentoring this summer by emailing or tweeting them using MENTOR’s advocacy platform VoterVoice.
  • Share this Opportunity on Social Media: Let your friends and colleagues know it’s Advocacy August. MENTOR has prepared a graphic to share with your network.

We encourage you and your program to participate in as many of these actions as possible this August. Let MENTOR know when you’ve participated in a virtual meeting or virtual site visit by filling out this short form. You will be entered into a contest, and at the end of August, four people will be randomly selected to receive a $25.00 gift card to a store of their choosing.

Throughout August, check back here weekly to learn advocacy best practices and success stories from leaders in youth mentoring advocacy. Please reach out to Adriane Alicea at AAlicea@mentoring.org if you have questions.

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