Guest blog by Tricia Souza, a nursing student and trained advocate for Shot@Life.
The beginning of the year is a fantastic time to set goals and to make resolutions. If one of your resolutions is to make a difference in the world, then consider the power of advocacy.
As a nursing student in my final year of school, I did not think I had the time for advocacy work. In my mind, advocacy is marching, calling everyone you know, and working tirelessly to put people in office and to get laws and policies enacted. While that can be part of advocacy work, there are other ways to advocate that are both easy and powerful. If you have limited time, you still can make your voice heard. The power of advocacy lies in our collective voices.
Wondering where to begin? It’s easy! Shot@Life offers virtual champion training, with two sessions coming up in January and February. Register here. During the training you will get the information you need, including the basics of advocacy, when to advocate, and the many ways you can make your voice heard as an advocate for global immunization programs. The training also familiarizes you with the many resources available, and the ways the staff can support you.
In October, I became a trained Shot@Life advocate. In just two months I have participated in phone calls with the offices of my senators. Before then, I had not participated in any advocacy work and was intimidated by the thought of it. After being trained and taking action, I realize that there is true power when we come together to advocate for access to vaccines – our collective voice is powerful!
One way to raise your voice is simply a quick conversation or leaving a voicemail message for your elected officials. Our elected representatives represent you! They need to know what issues are important to their constituents. The more they hear about funding for vaccine access, the more they know that this is something their constituents are passionate about. This makes them more likely to take note and support the same measures we are asking them to support.
You also don’t have to call often. There are two call-in days each year for Shot@Life, specifically scheduled at times when they have the most impact. You will get reminders, the number to call, and a script each time. I was surprised by how easy it was, and it’s not a significant time commitment.
The new year is a great time to take action to make the world healthier, and becoming a trained vaccine advocate with Shot@Life is a great place to start. Join me in making sure that no matter where someone lives, they have access to something as simple as a vaccine that can save their life or the life of their child.
Become a trained champion by attending one of our online training sessions. Sign up here for one of our monthly online training session!
Tricia Souza is a senior in her final semester of nursing school at Old Dominion University. Before nursing school, she studied global and public health and spent time abroad. While traveling, she saw that many people do not have access to the same basic medical care that we have access to living in the United States.