NSRC Recovery Advocacy Day
Here are a few comments from some RAD advocates from the NSRC about the event:
Lance and Colleen Illman: “We are fortunate to have found out about Recovery Advocacy Day and it was an honor to participate. Here are some details about our experience:
1) Our story: We currently run four faith-based sober living houses (and live on site) in Bellingham and have 42 people in our care. Addiction and recovery are a part of my husband's story and I have loved ones who have been impacted by addiction. Now we get to witness, encourage, support, and love on people trying to get their lives back on track while staying at our homes. Recovery is very much a part of our lives!
2) Despite recovery being a full-time passion and lifestyle for us, we had never heard of Recovery Advocacy Day. My hope is that we can spread the word and more people will know and participate in the future! My husband and I were the only ones who came representing the 42nd district and didn't know what to expect. We were impressed with the communication and organization of the event, the convenience of the bus ride, and emotionally moved to be banding together with other like-minded people. Lauren is a force to be reckoned with and Cody's story was memorable and compelling, and Chris had a great balance of business and humor. Out of our three meetings, we only were able to meet face-to-face with one Legislator, Luanne Van Werven, whom we have met with on two other occasions. She is certainly open to the bills and it sounded promising that we got her vote. The other two we spoke to their aids and will follow-up with them in Whatcom later.
We will attend next year and hope to bring a whole rag-tag group from LD 42 with us!
4) Suggestions for those who weren't there is to remember to be flexible, passionate, and open. Don't be intimidated! The legislators and senators and much more approachable that you'd think, it's incredible to see the capital building and see the chamber rooms in action. Have a passion for recovery - even if you're not directly affected. There is power in numbers and when band together, we can make a strong impact to improve the quality for the recovery community. Lastly, be open to discussion, questions, and meeting new people.
Again, thank you for the hard work and exciting opportunity on Wednesday!
Joan De Llamas:
I was so blown away by our turnout! All of us ready to do our part to support Recovery with our own voice to as many lawmakers as would listen.
Our group spoke with Rep. Dave Paul, Norma Smith and an assistant of Sen Barbara Bailey. The attention we got was amazing and we came out with lots of commitments for yes votes on the three bills in question. At the least, we got a promise to review with our testimony in mind. We all felt like we got the job done well.
I will go again if I can…so worth the early bus ride, cold hands and sore feet!
Thanks for all your hard work that made Our Part of Recovery Advocacy Day happen
Here are my responses
1. The experience I had at RAD exceeded what I imagined. I did not expect legislators to be so attentive to our stories & concerns. State representative Dave Paul teared up during our conversation as he shared, he has personally seen how education has improved the lives of his students as a prior professor at Skagit Valley College. Also, the state representatives & legislators were genuinely interested in what are the needs of our community and not on our political knowledge. I assumed not having sufficient political knowledge could interfere with me effectively advocating.
2. Will you attend again next year? Absolutely & positively yes.
3. Suggestions to make it better next year? I would clarify that as a group (my group had 10 members) we will speak to legislators. It will not be one on one appointments as I was concerned about not knowing how to answer questions if it was just myself meeting with legislators. However, having a team meeting with legislators really made a difference as there were various minds, stories, & perspectives shared.
4. Suggestions to those who did not participate: My suggestion would be to tell others about how accessible it is to participate. There are no specific credentials to advocate, so if a person cannot attend perhaps someone they know can attend and represent for them.
Thank you for the tremendous work you did to ensure we had transportation, food, and accurate information. Your excitement and focus is contagious!
Darci thank you for all you did yesterday. I have never experienced anything so empowering, ever. You and everybody I met are a great inspiration to me. Yes I will definitely attend next year. People you need to be here next year. We should have 2-3 buses coming from up north. It is an experience you will never forget. Just go…I promise you will NOT be disappointed.
NOTE: Mark your calendars: The 5th Annual Recovery Advocacy Day will be in February of next year (no date set yet). Hope you can join us for another amazing empowering day.