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Help You're the Cure by Having a Party?!

Huh?!  I can help You’re the Cure by having a party?  You sure can, and it’s fun to do!    

Tupperware might have started the trend, but many since have figured out the beauty of sharing a message with a group of friends to help get something done.  One of the ways we get advocacy done is with ‘house parties.’  

Growing the You’re the Cure network is our how we have power to leverage, to get our bills passed – bills that help people live longer healthier lives.  A house party is a fun way you can pull your friends and family into the fold, helping them understand the importance of our work, and inviting them to help the cause by joining the network.  And unlike Tupperware, it won’t cost them a penny. 

Here’s how simple it can be:

  • Let us know what you want to do so we can provide support! If you don’t already have our contact information, find your AHA advocacy contacts here.  
  • Pick a date and invite your contacts.  Include information about why working with us is important to you.  Many now use online event-planning tools like Eventbrite, to make sending invitation and tracking RSVPs easier than pie.  Facebook is a good distribution vehicle too.  Or maybe phone calls or written invitations are more your cup of tea.  You decide what works best for you.
  • Plan a few healthy snacks….yeah they should be healthy!  You are representing the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, after all.  We have lots of free healthy recipes online, and you can keep it very simple.  
  • At the event, mingle with your guests, have fun, and make a short pitch asking them to join the effort.  We have guides and sign-up sheets you can use to make it easy.
  • Take pics for sharing, and be sure to thank everyone!
  • Let us know how it went, and return sign-ups so we can get them entered in the network!

Here’s what Larry and Karen Calhoun, a North Carolina couple who do house parties annually, say: 

“We do a party for You’re the Cure and the Heart Walk every year, and it’s become something we really look forward to. We cook a heart healthy Cajun meal and thus our team name, the Cardiac Cajuns. The American Heart Association has helped us get organized and given support by providing information and visual displays about YTC, heart disease, and the work of AHA.  We really enjoy getting our friends together and love knowing we’re helping build the grassroots network in the process.”

You can put your own twist on the idea to ‘make it your own.’  We even heard of someone who did a mobile house party, going around to their friends’ houses to do individual sign-ups! 

Host the Ultimate House Party: a party that can save lives!   Will you do one?

 

 Guests mingle and chat at a 'House Party' at Larry and Karen Calhoun's

 

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Use the Press to Push Policy Forward

 

 

 

 

 

 

The press influences people.  As You’re the Cure grassroots advocates, we need to influence people.  Put 2 and 2 together, and You’re the Cure advocates can use the press to influence people.  Let’s do it!

Here’s a down and dirty guide to pushing a policy forward through a simple letter-to-the-editor:

  • Gather American Heart Association (AHA) fact sheets on the issue.  (Ask us!)
  • Choose target publication from your area and check their guidelines and word-count limit online.
  • In the first sentence, state the need and why it’s important to the public.
  • In a new paragraph, add two or three sentences about why it’s important to you personally. 
  • In a new paragraph, include a sentence or two with supporting data from our fact sheet(s).
  • Summarize by stating what you want, what readers should do, and/or what legislators should do.
  • Check to be sure you’re within the word-count limit (just the letter itself, not the salutation and signature).
  • If you wish, send to your AHA staff contact so we can provide a little polishing.
  • Once finalized, submit online per their rules, including your full contact information.
  • Connect to tell us you’ve submitted your letter.
  • Watch for publication!  

Note: If you can reference a related recent article from the same publication in your opening it could raise the chances of getting your letter published.

That’s it!  Not complicated, but highly impactful.  Not only can we educate the public about our policy issues this way, but we can reach legislators as well.  They and their staff comb newspapers that serve their districts for relevant content.  You can even name a legislator you want to influence in your letter, so it comes up in their Google searches. 

Would you like to write a letter-to-the-editor on a current You’re the Cure issue in your area?  Ask your local American Heart Association advocacy staff for information to get you started!  

 

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Chat Up Your Lawmakers Like a Champ

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to know how to make chatting up your lawmakers really count?  A few simple steps make all the difference in the world, whether it’s in a phone conversation or a face-to-face visit. 

  • Share where you live, so they know they are working for you, their constituent.
  • State the issue or need concisely in just 1 or 2 sentences.
  • Personalize it:  share a 3-4 sentence description about how it affects you, someone you love or work with, and others in the district/state. Don’t be afraid to get sappy!  Sappy helps make it real.
  • Include 1-3 facts to illustrate the need.  Use American Heart Association talking points or information from the American Heart Association website, www.heart.org, so you’re sure the information you are sharing is accurate and science-based.
  • Ask straight-out if they will support the issue.  Then ask why or why not.
  • Offer follow-up for any questions we can help answer.
  • Connect with us right away to let us know about your conversation.

Practice the format above a few times before your call or visit, and it will help you feel comfortable and prepared. 

And remember, our lawmakers are regular people just like you and me, who happen to be elected officials sworn to serve their district. Telling them what their constituents want is simply helping them do their jobs. 

 

(Pictured: NC You're the Cure Advocate Frank Amend talks with Rep Walter Jones about a pending policy issue.)

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Peak Behind the Scenes: How a Bill Becomes a Law

All that stuff you learned back in school about how a bill becomes law takes on a whole new light when you’re a voting citizen.  So here’s a little refresher on what happens behind the scenes!   

In the United States all of our laws began as bills.  Bills must be approved by the US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the President before becoming a law.  Though the steps for getting through each of the chambers are slightly different, the overall basics remain the same. Let’s take a quick journey through the process as if the bill was introduced into the US House of Representatives.

  1. Bill Idea Begins and is Proposed: Bills begin as ideas from a citizen or a representative.  A Representative takes the idea, researches it, and writes it into bill format.  Then a legislator willing to serve as sponsor and find others to support the bill is identified.  Once the bill has a sponsor and support, it’s ready to be introduced to the chamber.
  2. Bill is Introduced: In the House of Representatives, only a representative can introduce a bill.  Once introduced, it’s assigned a number and sent by the Speaker of the House to one of the standing House committees.
  3. Bill Goes to Committee:  In committee, the bill is reviewed, researched, and revised by a group of issue-related experts.  The committee votes to see if it will be sent back to the House floor.  Sometimes, committee members want even more information and the bill can be sent to a subcommittee.  In subcommittee the bill is examined even more closely before being sent back to the committee for a vote.
  4. Bill is Reported, Debated, and Voted on: When a committee has approved a bill, it is sent to the House floor.  During the debate, the reading clerk reads the bill section by section, and the Representatives recommend changes.  When all changes have been made, the bill is ready to be voted on.  Before it can continue on its journey, it must receive a majority of yes votes from the Representatives. 
  5. Bill is Referred to the Senate: When the bill reaches the Senate, it goes through many of the same processes it went through in the house, and must also receive a majority of yes votes before it’s passed on to the President.
  6. Bill is Sent to the President: The President has three choices when a bill reaches his desk.  He can sign and pass the bill, making it law.  He can refuse to sign (veto), and send it back to the US House of Representatives with his reason for veto, where the bill can again be voted on.  In this situation, if two-thirds of the Representatives and Senators support the bill, the President’s veto is overridden and the bill becomes a law.  The third option: the President can do nothing (pocket veto)—if Congress is in session the bill becomes law after 10 days, if Congress is not in session the bill does not become a law.

When a bill has passed through both chambers and is approved by the President (or the veto is overridden), the bill becomes a law!

At every step along the process before the bill is finalized, YOU have the opportunity to influence how your lawmakers vote.  The emails you receive from us make it easy to help drive our bills forward, and your voice is needed on every one of them.

Here’s a little ditty you might even remember from school that sums it up with a beat!

(Please visit the site to view this video)

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