12 Easy Ways to Make a Difference This Legislative Session

Last month, storytelling expert Christopher Davenport helped ADS Advisory Council members learn effective ways to communicate their passion, experience, and issues.

One of the primary responsibilities of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services (ADS) is Advocacy. It's listed first in our bylaws—ratified by our sponsors, the City of Seattle, King County, and United Way of King County. Every Advisory Council member is involved in determining current issues affecting older adults and persons with disabilities and advocating for relevant legislation on their behalf. But we can't do it alone—we need your help.

Advisory Council members Mary Anderson and Mac McIntosh compare notes at their January 10 retreat.

I thought of a dozen ways you can help make a difference—and you can do all but one without getting up from your chair:

  1. Learn about current issues facing older adults. Our Area Plan on Aging—updated for 2014–2015—is a good starting place.
  2. Talk to other people—especially family members, friends, and neighbors who depend on Social Security, Medicare and/or any of the programs and services provided by the aging services network. Think about how lives could be better—or worse—based on access to services.
  3. Read legislative agendas prepared by our community partners:
  4. Learn about the legislative process.
  5. Review current legislation of interest to the Washington State Senior Lobby.
  6. Find out who represents you in Olympia.
  7. Learn how to tell your story effectively.
  8. Read what the non-partisan League of Women Voters advises.
  9. Call the toll-free Legislative Hotline. Memorize their number: 1-800-562-6000.
  10. Tell five friends how easy it is to call the Hotline.
  11. If you have more to say, e-mail your legislators.
  12. Sign up to participate in Senior Lobby Day in Olympia on February 20, 2014. There's power in numbers, and you don't have to do all the talking!

If every person who cares about successful aging in Washington state accomplished one or more of the activities on this list, our legislators would truly understand the terms "age wave" and "silver tsunami." Please join the ranks of those who have made a difference!

P.S. For more information on how to tell the most effective stories to engage your community, see Christopher Davenport's Prezi presentation, Nonprofit Storytelling for Board Members.

Tony Provine serves as chair of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services.