SCAN advocate Adriana Gomez at the Volunteer Leader Training in Washington, D.C.
Adriana Gomez from Albuquerque, New Mexico started volunteering with Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) almost exactly a year ago and now, she’s a volunteer leader. As a pre-k teacher for 9 years, she knows how critical it is to advocate on behalf of kids and their future. Although she hasn’t done advocacy work before joining SCAN, it took her no time to get comfortable with it. In fact, she joined us in Washington D.C. this week as a part of an advocacy training that included a day of meetings on Capitol Hill with state lawmakers. We spoke to learn more about her experience on the Hill and how she got started!
What made you become a volunteer at SCAN?
My state leader, Lacey, came to my work to explain what SCAN is and how they are a voice for children. I was really engaged to make a difference for children because I am a teacher and I see how it all works for kids at such a young age.
What has been your favorite part about our volunteer leader training?
My favorite part for this specific training is that I see every state has a leader and we all can come together, and work together, to make a difference as leaders.
How did your first congressional meeting of the day go?
We met with a staff member from Rep. Haaland’s (D-NM) office. It went awesome. We really connected especially because I found out she was a retired teacher of 47 years, so we had a lot in common. She really listened to my story and was very open. She agreed with all the talking points we had for her and she was going to push Rep. Haaland to cosponsor our legislation (the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act).
What’s your favorite way to advocate for kids back at home?
We advocate a lot through tabling events, especially getting postcards signed and sending out flyers. Being a teacher, we also send posters or cards or pictures that students draw. We send those over to our legislative representative to thank them for thinking about us or mentioning us in their meetings or interviews.
How do you like working with your fellow volunteers?
It’s amazing! We’re small, which is nice, making it more personal when we’re together. But we want more volunteers. We see each other once a month but usually connect more than that. It’s also nice having our main leader, Lacey, there for us.
Which one of our advocacy issues resonates with you the most?
All of them resonate equally. If you really think about it, it’s a snowball effect. All kids deserve to be in school at a young age. They have so much more to give and they absorb more at this age. It’s a critical time for them. If we get this bill passed (The Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act) and get more child care spots open for kids, it gives more opening for teachers to get jobs and get more education.
I do feel that teachers should get paid more because it’s not just baby-sitting, like some like to suggest. If you go talk to a teacher in elementary school, they’ll tell you that you can tell the difference between kids that have early childhood education and a child that doesn’t. It makes a difference. If people just listen to us about it, they’ll get it!
What’s your hope for the future?
I hope SCAN can grow and that we can we prosper more through the legislative branches to get all our bills passed and voices heard of children.
What tip would you share with someone who hasn’t advocated before?
Don’t overthink it. Lawmakers and their staff want to talk to you. They’re normal people. Don’t be nervous. Just talk to them!
Anything else to add?
I really appreciate SCAN and how much they give back to volunteers. They are so supportive if we need something. It’s a really good organization to be a part of.