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Our Collective Attendance Gave Us Power

It was wonderful to be invited to the classy Community Crossroads Community Partnership event held on Thursday, October 11th at the Atkinson Country Club. I was invited because I am currently a trainee with the UNH NH-ME LEND program.  The program stands for Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities.  LEND at UNH is part of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and partners with Maternal and Child Health (MCH).  I enrolled in this program after graduating from the UNH NH Leadership Series which helps parents learn state-of-the-art ways to engage in our communities and political policies that impact families with chronic health issues and disabilities. I applied because my son John was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 3 and is now 7 years old.  After graduating from that program, I wanted to continue to build upon my knowledge for not only my son but for my fellow parents also challenged by a disability in their households.

The LEND program has assigned me to Community Crossroads for a portion of the curriculum called my leadership placement. The foundation that NH Leadership provided me in public policy is being revisited and strengthened with Community Crossroads’ Policy Partners advocacy training.  Attending Community Crossroads’ Partnership event was a way to meet the candidates seeking to serve & celebrate outstanding advocates & leaders. It allowed me a view into what they as an agency have accomplished and meet some of the families they serve.  When it came to the political candidates I have to admit at first I was a bit nervous socializing with them. However, I knew advocating could help my son and it is critical to share my voice.  Deep down though I wondered if they really would care to hear my perspective on my son’s challenges in his school and his community. I rose to the occasion and shared our struggles as well as explained that by having the help of advocates such as those at my area agency, NH Leadership and NH-ME LEND that there is power in numbers.  I wasn’t alone anymore, our collective attendance gave us power.

The event was dazzling and people were mingling all around.  I was grateful to meet other parents like me who wanted to give back to their community. I met politicians that helped us in the past through the NH Leadership Series. To my surprise I already knew some of them and it felt great to see them again.   I was impressed with the quality and quantity of candidate that Community Crossroads was able to draw to their event.  It was fun and engaging to have conversations with the candidates about the benefits and resources that I have learned about. As someone new to Community Crossroads I was amazed at how committed the employees are to increasing the quality of life and wellbeing of the people they serve.

NH-ME LEND Trainee/Leadership in Action Placement