BLOG : Be A Part of Advocacy Day - Here's How!

Getting up at 3:00am to catch a bus from NYC up to Albany may sound like a harrowing start to a day.  However, I make this pilgrimage annually because it is of utmost importance in keeping independence over my life. This trek to New York State’s capitol is for Advocacy Day - to fight for proper funding and policies for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Services (CDPAS) program. I meet with my representatives, talk about the program and what I need from them to keep it going strong. And the more of us that make this trek, the stronger our message to our lawmakers comes across.

If you are a Consumer, Designated Representative or a Personal Assistant with CDPAS, the upcoming budget will affect your life. You can have your say by making the trip to Albany with me on February 12, and fighting for this vital program. Although it may sound intimidating, I assure you anyone is capable of meeting with their representatives and getting their point across. Even if you are a bundle of nerves, you can make an incredible statement. Don’t believe me? Here’s what you need to know to make an impact with your representative:

  1. The first step is to make the appointment. Find your Assembly person here and your state senator here. Call their Albany office, and let them know you’d like to meet with them or their staff on February 12 between noon and 4pm to discuss funding for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Services program.
  2. Read through the legistlative agenda items from CDPAANYS (the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NYS) to better familiarize yourself with the issues.
  3. Using that CDPAANYS information, practice talking about the issues with a friend or the very person that may be accompanying you on the trip. Tell them how this program impacts your life personally. For me as a Consumer, upon reviewing the material, I usually chitchat about the main points with my PAs, especially the one who will be accompanying me on the trip. Their feedback can be useful in personalizing your story.
  4. Sometimes the hardest part is the very beginning, if you’re not sure how things will go. Usually after the introductions, you can begin by giving the representative a folder with the material you want to share. This is a great start! They now have the specifics, so you can now focus on telling your story and refer to the material as needed. I must admit that on my very first trip, I felt unsure of myself, despite the preparation. What I considered the most helpful was that my appointment with my representative was not until later. This allowed me the opportunity to accompany a couple others to their meetings first. I cannot stress how invaluable this was to me. While hearing some of the material being pitched, I formulated my own approach. That said, whenever possible, TEAM UP with a fellow Consumer, Surrogate or advocate for the meetings.  They will reciprocate. Because everyone brings something different, it all ends up being a complete presentation, giving your representative a good understanding of your issues and needs.

Come join me on this exciting and important journey to our State’s capitol to fight for our freedom. Get in touch with TK Small at or Luz Cantres at to get started!


By Bryan Sealy, Concepts Consumer

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