Highlights from MCH Advocacy Fellow, Claudette

Hello there,

I am Claudette and I’m writing to you about my time so far with my Fellowship. The MCH Advocacy Fellowship Program has been a wonderful experience and I’m so grateful I’m part of this first cohort where I’ve learned a lot while making new connections.

My favorite part of the fellowship for me so far is the incredibly rewarding experience it has to offer.  Building relationships with fellow advocates, as it allows you to learn from others, share experiences, and collaborate on important issues. As part of my fellowship, I’m responsible for maintaining MCH relationships with State Agencies to ensure we are informed on legislation that will impact state-administered programs. This will include research visits to assist in writing legislation, technical assistance requests throughout our advocacy efforts, and informing community members of funding, accessibility, and policy changes.

While there are incredible opportunities with this experience, there are a few challenges as well. The most challenging part of the fellowship so far is working with individuals from different agencies to get updated information. Meeting with different lawmakers per their schedules which can be difficult at times. I hope to grow from these challenges by exercising more patience until the matter is resolved, maintaining a positive mindset in order to overcome any obstacles and ask for help if needed. I hope to grow from these challenges by always taking a holistic view of the problem, then try to implement all possible solutions.

I have met the Governor of the State. I testified at the Capitol and I spoke at the Press Conference regarding the Pathway Home Act which was signed into law. Check out our picture: 

This Fellowship has given me countless opportunities such as public speaking, community organizing, and gaining new skills that are fulfilling and empowering. I have connected with state representatives and senators to help get bills passed for all Minnesotans. I hope to get a better understanding of how policies are shaped, how institutions function, and how change can happen. Understanding the intricacies of advocacy within the system can be eye-opening and empowering. I hope to take on more roles regarding advocacy.

I had the opportunity to put together and finalize a resource document for Housing & Homelessness Programs assigned to me at the start of the Fellowship. This document lists all the State funding sources related to homelessness and housing. I have completed training sessions, grant seeking and writing workshops that will enhance my skills going forward. After a lot of hard work, reviews, edits, and more edits – I’m honored to share the final product with you here!

If you see anything missing or incorrect on Housing & Homelessness Programs resource, please email me: Claudette@mnhomelesscoalition.org.

Thank you for your continued support and guidance throughout this journey.  If you want to support our work financially, here is a link to donate to the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. We are currently building out our number of sustaining donors, and with your support, I know we will continue doing great work together.

The MCH Advocacy Fellowship Program is a rewarding program that will push individuals like me out of their comfort zones and enable them to advocate and interact more and gain insights especially working with senators, aides and representatives within the MN House and MN Senate. Whether it’s public speaking, meeting with policymakers, or organizing campaigns, the personal growth that comes from this fellowship has been deeply rewarding.

— Claudette, MCH Advocacy Fellow