In the beginning of June, Desiree went to Washington D.C. with her mom, Linda Devane, and Amar to advocate for the AbilityOne program as part of the SourceAmerica Grassroots Training Conference. Desiree visited Capitol Hill during her stay to share her story and the importance of her job, as well as the jobs of her peers, through the AbilityOne program. Desiree asked for changes to federal policies that will affect those we serve. When she returned to BAC, we asked her some questions about her advocacy efforts.
Q: How was your trip?
A: It was awesome. I had a wonderful time on my trip to D.C.
Q: What did you do on your trip?
A: When I first arrived in D.C. I attended a welcome dinner with a group of peers. The next day I spoke about my story on stage with a group of people who shared their stories too. I got a certificate for excellence in advocacy from SourceAmerica. I had five meetings with legislative correspondents on Capitol Hill. Also, I learned about Medicaid, Vocational Rehab and healthcare.
Q: Did anything surprise you about your trip?
A: Yes, I was surprised that Amar took me and my mom to the White House, Capitol Hill, the National Mall and the Library of Congress. I really enjoyed the tours; it was nice to learn about history. Amar also took my mom and me to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Georgetown. It was delicious!
Q: What was your favorite part of the trip?
A: Shopping and eating chicken tacos from a food truck.
Q: What do you remember most?
A: I will never forget that I went to the National Mall because it is about war. My grandfather was in the Korean War and my father-in-law was in the Vietnam War. I am so proud of them both for serving our country. It has made me realize what our troops sacrifice and that freedom is not free. I will always be grateful for my grandfather and father-in-law.
Q: Do you feel that you made a difference?
A: Yes, I do feel that I made a difference because I learned that even though I have a disability I can do whatever I set my mind to. This trip has shown that we are not giving up on our goal and our future. That is why I am so proud to be who I am and show people who I am. And I am proud of anyone who has a disability. Going to D.C., I was nervous of course, but I was excited too and now I can say I did it.