Thursday, July 01, 2004

Kokua Council June 2004 Program: Kai Duponte - Advocacy for You and Others

Being an advocate can be exhausting, and frustrating but very necessary if you are to have anything to say about the world around you and how you are treated.

Kai Duponte, MSW, is Project Director of the Hawaii Child Welfare Education Collaboration; a collaboration between the UH School of Social Work and the Department of Human Services. She also has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Her personal advocacy involved convincing UH to tailor her teaching hours to accommodate her illness.

When Kaiser changed the payment method for necessary drugs for MS patients, she organized a group of MS patients to fight the change.

What she learned:
  • It requires long hours, persistence and patience.

  • Put a personal face on the issue by having persons affected testify.

  • Get a legislator to champion your cause.

  • Develop relations with other groups who will help.

  • Visit committee chairs, especially the money chairs if your cause requires financing.

  • Have a legislator from the majority party introduce the bill.