The key objectives of the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program are:
- Strengthen and organize the Down syndrome community’s grassroots advocacy network across the US by encouraging more advocates to become active in supporting legislative efforts that are beneficial to the Down syndrome community.
- Be more effective on Capitol Hill by building relationships in Washington, DC, with Members of Congress and staff.
- Engage more affiliates and advocates to provide valued input and feedback to NDSS.
- Grow the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program to 435 participants – one for each congressional district in the US.
Participants in the program are crucial to the success of NDSS.
Participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program are valued volunteers, yet do not receive compensation for their services. The estimated minimum time commitment is 2-4 hours per month.
Expectations of participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program:
- Establish positive relationships with elected officials at the federal, state and local levels.
- Build a network of grassroots advocates within their state and their local area.
- Encourage local affiliates and advocates to support national legislative efforts that are beneficial to the Down syndrome community by making calls, sending e-mails and meeting with elected officials at critical points in time.
- Gather input from local affiliates and advocates regarding NDSS’ advocacy efforts, programs, and key initiatives.
- Partner with NDSS on special assignments to advance the organization’s advocacy efforts.
- Make all efforts to attend the annual Buddy Walk® on Washington (a limited number of scholarships are available).
- Consider participating in or supporting the development of a Down syndrome policy network in your state.
- Help to expand the number of participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program in their state by sharing information and inviting advocates to join the program.
- Demonstrate support for NDSS in dealings with legislators, advocates, the public and on social media.
- Conduct all Ambassadorial responsibilities and communications with professionalism and respect for all parties involved.
- Participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program are solely volunteers of NDSS, and shall not use the name NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program on emails and social media, or otherwise represent themselves as speaking on behalf of NDSS unless authorized by NDSS to do so.
Expectations of NDSS to participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program:
- Organize monthly business phone calls to provide legislative and program updates.
- Offer tools needed for successful advocacy including talking points and templates for meeting requests, press releases, and letters to the editor.
- Host the annual two-day Buddy Walk® on Washington conference and advocacy training.
- Issue Advocacy Alerts regarding priority issues.
- Provide free educational webinars conducted by NDSS and other national experts on topics related to Down syndrome such as health, education, research, and family life.
- Facilitate relationships among advocates for information sharing and support.
- Respond to requests via e-mail and phone for guidance and advice on pursuing our legislative initiative.
NDSS holds monthly business calls for participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program to provide legislative and program updates. Recordings and notes from the webinars are e-mailed to participants. If you are a participant in the program and need the information to be present, please contact the NDSS Advocacy and Public Policy Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.