During this year’s Advocate2Vaccinate activation, Shot@Life Champions around the country accepted the challenge to take their advocacy actions to the next level. One such Champion, Kate English, hosted a fundraiser in which she asked friends and family to write letters to their members of Congress on behalf of Shot@Life.
In between her time volunteering at family shelters, mothering her two children, and providing therapy services to cocaine abusers, we found some time to catch up with Kate and ask her about her recent event.
How did you first get involved with the Shot@Life campaign?
I subscribe to the United Nations Foundation email list to stay informed about global health issues. Earlier this year, I read about the opportunity to become a Shot@life advocate and attend the summit in DC. I immediately submitted an application and soon thereafter received an invitation to attend. I was thrilled about the opportunity because I have been looking for ways to become involved in international health while still maintaining a flexible schedule at home.
Would you consider your fundraiser a success?
Although only a dozen guests attended my fundraiser, I would still call it a success because now 12 more people know about Shot@Life! Of course they also promised to tell their friends and family about it, too. Furthermore, all guests signed letters to our Oregon Senators and Representatives, and we raised $300 for Shot@Life. The offer of wine and appetizers certainly encouraged friends to come and to donate generously!
What did this event mean to you and what did you learn from it?
I believe this small event had significant impact mainly because of the fundraising component. Knowing that we raised enough money to vaccinate 150 children against measles and rubella gives me a sense of accomplishment. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t host it on a week night because I discovered the majority of moms are driving their kids to sports practices and games and therefore unable to attend. For me, it is still just as much work planning a party for 50 as for 12, so next time I would strategize more to improve event turnout.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment with the Shot@Life campaign?
As I am fairly new to the campaign, I would have to say my greatest accomplishment thus far is having taken the initial leap to become involved. Attending the summit in DC, learning more about legislative advocacy, meeting other advocates, and attending meetings with representatives on Capitol Hill. All of these activities inspired and motivated me to continue my commitment to Shot@Life back home in Oregon. The fundraiser and advocacy event I held at my home in April is hopefully just the first of my many more accomplishments to come to benefit Shot@Life.
What do you want people to know about being a Champion? What would you suggest as the best way to get involved in the campaign?
It is so easy and rewarding to become involved with Shot@Life. The quickest and easiest way to become an advocate is online and takes almost no time at all. However, attending the summit is incredibly helpful and a great learning experience. And the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and skills of the advocates is welcoming and inspiring.