My International Conference Experience

July 7, 2016
by Cecilia van Wijk, Global Grassroots Intern

Leading up to the International Conference (IC), I had various conversations about RESULTS with Lisa Marchal on staff and fellow grassroots volunteers from Indianapolis. I began to develop an understanding of the organization, but not until I attended the International Conference did the dots truly begin to connect.

Starting my internship with RESULTS by attending the conference provided me with clear insight on the inner workings of the organization. I was humbled when I realized that volunteering for RESULTS is not about me or my fellow volunteers, but it is about something much bigger than that. Volunteering for RESULTS is about making a statement that we will no longer accept the status quo and that we will fight for the most vulnerable people and communities. It was surprising to witness how influential our volunteer work is in introducing and passing bills or letters through Congress. Participating in Advocacy Day showed me that speaking with members of Congress actually makes a difference. During our meeting with Senator Donnelly’s aides, I challenged Donnelly to cosponsor the Reach Act since he is a member of the committee of Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry. I was thanked and received positive feedback from Donnelly’s aides. They said that Donnelly would be interested in cosponsoring the bill. I was pleasantly surprised that I had made a difference, even if it was just encouraging one member of Congress to cosponsor a bill. On Wednesday, I attended the post-IC workshop that taught me how to write an op-ed.

The IC was also a reminder that the world is a small place; not only did I meet new friends from Indiana, but in less than a week, I made a new friend from the UK and another from India. Leaving the IC, I have been challenged to write and publish my own op-ed in a local newspaper. That is exciting!

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