In an effort to engage students in policy and advocacy work, Valparaiso UniversitySocial Work Department sent a group of 30 to participate in the NASW-Indiana 2014 LEADIntensive Training. Students spent the morning listening and learning about legislative advocacy in action and received guidance specific to activities currently ongoing at the Indiana Statehouse. They learned who to talk to, and how to talk about issues that NASW Indiana is tracking on behalf of consumers and NASW-IN members.
The afternoon was spent applying that knowledge in the most hands-on mannerpossible as they headed to the Indiana Statehouse to actively create change. Students had the chance to interact with Senator Charbonneau on matters related to child welfare, child well-being, and early childhood education. Additionally they observed from the gallery the House of Representatives.
Each year in the middle of our bracing Indiana winter, numerous students and faculty from Valparaiso’s Department of Social Work travels to Indianapolis for LEAD Day. LEAD stands for Legislative Education and Advocacy Day. During LEAD Day social workers, students, and Social Work educators gather to share stories, explain the political process, identify issues critical to social work practice, and give examples of social workers advocating on those issues.
Because it starts early (8 am, 7 am Valpo time), we travel down the night before. It’s become not only an educational opportunity but also a time to make and build friendships. The event is open to social majors, minors, and to those who are simply interested and curious. We hope you enjoy the pictures of our students in action!