As Grassroots Director for the GSA, Julie Howell has the responsibility to increase our volunteers participation around many of our advocacy issues. So partnering with Florida’s Government Relations Director, David Francis, they set off to meet, greet, educate and recruit not only current members of You’re the Cure but bring in some new blood as well.
The trip began on a Tuesday afternoon when Julie landed at the Orlando International Airport around 2:30 pm. David, having driven down the night before had been meeting with legislative staff in the area while waiting for Julie to arrive, pulled into the airport to pick up Julie, drove to the downtown hotel and began to plan the rest of the week. They decided to head over the American Heart Association's Orlando office to meet staff and make sure they were ready for the training taking place the next day.
After some hand shaking and greetings, Julie and David head over to the meeting site, which had been generously donated by Walgreens. When they arrive at the Walgreens store, David and Julie met the hospitable manager, Jacques, who showed the two to the community space in the store.
Day of the event, we expected about 20 people to show up at the meeting and that's exactly how many folks showed up; we were quite happy. The volunteers both new and old to American Heart Association were engaged, asking questions about policies, providing suggestions with helping our cause and generally interested in our overall goals and how to get them accomplished. The volunteers ranged from a 20 year stroke survivor to a 17 year-old teen beauty queen, who are all passionate about our mission.
After a hour and a half training on all things grassroots and advocacy, we said goodbye to our new friends hoping they have a better understanding of what we can offer them. With Orlando in the rearview mirror, Julie and David headed to Tampa for a late evening meeting with a group of power Go Red for Women volunteers followed by meetings the next day with the Tampa Bay Board of Directors and local staff.