[Community-service] On the "Hill" and in the community.

Chris Parsons christine-parsons at sbcglobal.net
Sat Jan 31 03:14:50 UTC 2015

Darian and all,

Darian, I find this to be a really interesting question. Thank you for 
asking it; it has definitely got me pondering.

So far in my pondering, I've had difficulty coming up with a direct link 
between us engaging in community service/volunteerism and our lawmakers 
becoming more aware of us and our ultimate goals. I think this is because 
the things we typically think of doing that more directly raise lawmakers' 
awareness of us--volunteering with political campaigns, participating in the 
education that happens during Washington Seminar and the state legislative 
days, and even joining a local council dealing with particular issues, such 
as transportation--are considered advocacy rather than community service. 
All of these things are important components in our effort to raise 
lawmakers'--and the general public's--awareness of us, the issues that 
matter to us, and our ultimate goals, but they are not community service as 
I think it is typically understood.

So then I started thinking how our involvement in those activities which we 
do typically consider to be community service might help to raise lawmakers' 
awareness of us. As a bit of a stretch, I think that if one of our lawmakers 
happened also to be participating in a service project in which one or some 
of us were participating, this would be a great opportunity to educate 
them--both through our actions and our words--about our true capacity as 
blind people and our ultimate goals. In some ways, I think something like 
this might even have the possibility to serve as a stronger testament to our 
true capacity as blind people than visiting our lawmakers in their offices, 
talking to them about the issues that are important to us, and sharing our 
stories because they would see us directly engaging in efforts to give back 
to and be active participants in our communities.

However, I would imagine that in general, lawmakers are unaware of a large 
majority of service projects and volunteer work done by their consstituents, 
unless the project or work receives media attention for some reason. As a 
result, I think that our advocacy efforts as individuals and as members of 
the National Federation of the Blind probably do more to raise lawmakers' 
awareness of our capacity and our goals than do our community service 
efforts. However, as I said at the beginning of this message, I find this to 
be a really interesting question, and I'm really curious to hear others' 
thoughts about how these two things might be linked.


-----Original Message----- 
From: Darian Smith via Community-service
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2015 3:25 AM
To: Community Service Discussion List
Subject: [Community-service] On the "Hill" and in the community.

Hi All:

  I’m sure many of you are    returning from Washington Seminar having  had 
a  successful experience educating our lawmakers on the issues that mean the 
most to us as blind americans, the issues  that when  addressed will get us 
one step closer to living the lives we want.
I was contemplating the idea of community service/ voluntarism and  if 
involvement both  as individuals and as members of the NFB can somehow help 
those public servants on the “Hill”   gain an understanding of our true 
capacity and what we need to get to our ultimate end goal?
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