Hello and welcome to RESULTS!
My name is Joanne Carter and I'm the executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund. I know I speak for our entire staff and volunteer network when I say how grateful we are that you are adding your voice, your action, and your passion to our collective mission to end poverty in our country and the world.
I want to let you know that the work we do with RESULTS is exciting, but it isn't always easy. You may feel a little bit overwhelmed at first, particularly if you don't have a lot of experience with contacting your member of Congress, writing letters to the editor, or speaking powerfully in public about poverty issues. But please be patient with yourself. For many of us, participating in our democracy at this deeper level is not something we have done throughout our lives. But if you take your learning step by step, action by action, you'll look over your shoulder four months down the road and see just how far you have come. Typically, people who join RESULTS start their journey not fully believing that they can make a difference, but wanting to try. The ones who do persist, almost without fail move from "I don't make a difference" to "I know I can make a difference because I've done it," and they carry that around with them for the rest of their lives. As a longtime activist leader from California says, "Now when I look at the tragic headlines in the newspaper I don't get depressed because I know I can do something about them."
I realized my own power as an activist when I joined RESULTS as a volunteer like you. For me, that was 20 years ago.
When I joined RESULTS in 1988, I had worked on political campaigns from the time I was 14 years old, but I had literally never talked to a member of Congress. I'd also hardly ever spoken publicly on the issues I cared about so much. With training and information and lots of support, within a few months of being a RESULTS partner I was leading our local meetings outside of New York City (admittedly, I was more than a bit nervous, but I did it). The next big revelation for me was meeting my member of Congress. When I asked for a meeting, amazingly I got it very quickly — not everyone will have that experience — but in my case I realized I had just never asked! When I met with my congressman, who was a senior member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he not only was positive about what I asked — he got his DC aide on the phone and told him to follow up with me. I learned in that moment that I really had no idea of the power I could exert. From then on I was hooked. Three years later, I left my job as a veterinarian and came to work for RESULTS and I have been here ever since.
Now, not everyone will have as easy a first meeting as I did, nor will you come to work for RESULTS, but I know that with encouragement and training, you will discover you are more powerful then you ever guessed.
Thank you for taking on this challenge of training yourself to be a more powerful and informed activist. We look forward to the gifts and talents you will be adding to this movement to bring an end to poverty on our planet.